Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Can we be friends?

The answer is 'no'.

I was speaking to a colleague last night who was having issues with one of his graduate students. The problem is that my colleague tries to be friends with his students. I think this is a recipe for disaster. It blurs the supervisor/student relationship and undermines authority.

When I was a student, I had an excellent working relationship with my PhD supervisors. This relationship has now grown into a friendship but I would never have expected them to be my friends while I was studying, nor would I have wanted them to be. What I needed were people that I could consider credible, who would critique my work and, when appropriate, kick me up the bum if I was being slack. It's a bit like parent/offspring relationships. Some parents want to be friends with their kids (instead of being parents). They're often the ones that end up on the Jerry Springer show.


Cazzie!!! said...

I am laughing, but only because I agree with the last sentence.
My eldest will be 13 years old soon and he knows my ears are always open and he can speak to me about anything any time. Giving him space to grow, I can see him developing into a responsible young man so far. I would not try to be his best friend as he has so many "best friends" already :)
I just hope what I do with my kids is the right thing..and forever praising the positive things they do, and full marks for trying their very best always seems to be working so far.
Myself, I would not have wanted to be friends with my lecturers either. I valued their criticism, and their knowledge and support and I know that without them I may not have become the nurse I am today. Of course I thank myself for perservering too.
Great post.

Adaptive Radiation said...

Thanks sound like a great mum.

Evol Kween said...

We all learn differently , huh? It was always that the teachers/lecturers who made me feel like we were on the same 'level' that inspired me to do my best because otherwise I felt I was letting them down.