1. wolferz
    Offline

    wolferz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Harrisburg

    Realistic Portrayal of student-teacher

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by wolferz, Jun 12, 2009.

    I am writing about a student (female) and teacher (male) who become very close (not sexually). I realize this may sound strange, but I am not sure of the appropriate interactions betwen students and teachers in today's society.

    Ex: The student is going to be forced to interact with the teacher on the basis that she has to pee desperately during a class trip outside school.. And I do not even know how to appropriately write this, or if I should write it at all.
    Another aspect is that the student feels ill and wants the teacher to ask "Are you ok?" I don't know...how that can be written to make sense and be entertaining and be realistic.
     
  2. Kas
    Offline

    Kas Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    567
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    The ***hole of the world
    All teachers are different... How he treats her and responds to 'situations' really depends on him. Is he very rigid or uncomfortable getting close? Or is he a best-buddy kind of teacher? How old is the girl? How old is he? Does he think that being friendly and funny is the best way to earn his students cooperation? Or does he just see it as a job, adhering strictly the rules and what he deems 'appropriate concuct'?

    Sex, aggression, swearing etc are the only big no-nos. The rest is pretty much up to him - or rather, you, as the writer. Same goes for the student. Treat it like you would any other human interaction. I'm guessing you just haven't fully developed these characters yet. . .
     
  3. wolferz
    Offline

    wolferz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Harrisburg
    I guess I have not fully developed the characters, but I have SOME ideas that I can work with. I was too vague in this description. I'll explain:

    To answer the questions, the teacher is roughly a 55-year-old widowed male who teaches English and sometimes History. The student is a 17-year-old female with undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome. This teacher is perhaps more rigid, and quite lonely. He does not allow others to get close to him easily. However, he has a sweet side that the student brings out in him. He has very good judgment, he has children and understands his students well. He sees teaching as a semi-strict job, but is passionate about it. The plot is that the student develops an infatuation with her teacher and mistakes it for romance. In reality, she is searching for a fatherly figure because her own father emotionally neglects her. Basically - she teaches him how to see things differently with her disorder of Asperger's (a different 'view of the world'), thus becoming less uptight. And he fulfills her emotional needs.

    In fulfulling the student's emotional needs, I was thinking of a scene in which the student is longing for her teacher's attention, she wants him to ask if she is all right, and wants to know that he is concerned for her well being. I was going to have her somehow fake illness or pretend to faint in class and I do not know how to write it. What is the appropriate way for a high school teacher to help a sick student?

    I was also going to have the student suffer from a difficulty completing a task (a simple task most of us don't think is anxiety-producing). And the teacher would help her overcome this. My main idea was for her to have a problem telling others she needs to go to the bathroom (a possibility with Asperger's)...and she holds her urine for hours at a time because she feels uncomfortable telling anyone else.
    Again, I was verrrry unsure of how to go about writing this in an appropriate and believable way - How do teachers handle situations like this if a student has to pee badly, etc.? (in a school setting at least) I am pretty clueless.
     
  4. Dcoin
    Offline

    Dcoin Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2008
    Messages:
    279
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NYC
    Have some experience in this setting, and bathrooming is uaually pretty natural.
    "I got to pee."
    "Can it wait till lunch?"
    "Nope."
    "Bathroom is near the entrance, take <fill in name> with you. Check in with me when you come back."

    If you'd like to show a certain caring for this student, maybe the teacher can take the class on many bathroom breaks throughout the trip, just so this student has the opportunity to use it often.
     
  5. bluebell80
    Offline

    bluebell80 Contributing Member

    Joined:
    May 20, 2009
    Messages:
    636
    Likes Received:
    18
    Location:
    Vermont
    I think you have to think less about what any other type of person would do in this situation and focus on how your teacher would react to the girl's behavior. How the girl behaves (Due to her mental problem) when she has to pee and has been holding it for a long time, will dictate how the teacher reacts, as well as his own personality. Think about how he grants other's permission to use the toilet. How much compassion does he have, or how annoyed might he be at this girl's issues?

    This simple interaction can show the reader a lot about both characters without really needing info dumps, or falling into the realm of "telling" too much. It can also be used to establish his either different or indifferent treatment of the girl to the rest of the class.

    There are quite a few ways you could go with it, it is all up to you and what tone you want your story to have, and how you want the characters to develop.
     
  6. wolferz
    Offline

    wolferz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Harrisburg
    Dcoin, thanks a bunch for the example! Are you a teacher, by chance?

    Do you think you could possibly give some examples of what you're thinking? I had only 2 or 3 approaches to it.
     
  7. psyence53
    Offline

    psyence53 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2009
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Within The Confines Of My Mind

    Not much help here, but I went though a similar thing. I don't have aspergers, but mere depression. During college , for a while i thought i was developing these feelings for my tutor, but i eventually realised it was because he was more of a father figure to me than my own dad was at that time. I remember sometimes thinking things i hated thinking, like, as you said, wondering if he cared, if anyone cared.

    Good luck in finding the answers you need. Sorry i can't give any, but i believe your characters will grow with little help from you, and might even surprise you along the way. I think you have an interesting concept here, especially as it deals with illness and NOT "just a crush" sort of thing. I would definitely read it. Hope it works out well!
     
  8. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    Of course a teacher is going to check in on the health of a child if they have any sign of illness, and do everything withing their power to help them. Teachers do care that much, and it's their job even if they don't care. But no teacher is going watch a student over the age of four going to the bathroom unless they have a physical or developmental disability, regardless of the gender of each. If there really is no washroom nearby, she'll help the student find a place where he/she can go privately, and turn away. But more than likely, she'll insist that the student wait until they can get to a proper washroom.

    On a side note, the odds of any degree of autism going unidetntified for that long if she can't even ask to go to the bathroom is unlikely. Even if she does have trouble asking, but no physical disability making it difficult for her, a teacher would handle it in the same way he would handle any other student. I mean, I don't have autism, but I can be very shy around authority figures and hate to interrupt, so I was just as likely to end up in that situation as a student. As I said already, he would insist that she wait or help her find a place where she can go without anyone looking.
     
  9. wolferz
    Offline

    wolferz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Harrisburg
    Just for another side note, this summer I am working with children who have autism and who are on the spectrum. My supervisor and many other articles I've read DO in fact state the higher functioning Asperger's can go undiagnosed easily. This is not the same as autism, and again the spectrum is huge.

    My character is high functioning and her inability to state she needs to use a bathroom is only one of a few things she has noticably wrong with her. So I just want to state that this is perfectly acceptable and does happen in real life based on my experience and knowledge. Asperger's is really different from autism, ESPECIALLY in females (symptoms are very different than with males). It is not diagnosed in many cases until late in life or self-diagnosis.
     
  10. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    I know it goes undiagnosed. Anyway, the way I was thinking, if she won't ask to go to the bathroom, wouldn't she regularly have accidents as a younger child? In every school I've worked in, if that happened, they would have recognized that there is something going on by the time she is 7.
     
  11. wolferz
    Offline

    wolferz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Harrisburg
    This is a good point... And I guess my only way to work around this would be that she sneaks off to the bathroom independently. She just doesn't "tell others." But in a home environment or school, she is aware of schedules and can sneak off on her own (not needing an adult's permission, per se).

    Because she's on a class trip, she is less familiar with her surroundings and honestly doesn't know where the bathroom is and is too embarrassed to ask. Or she has a fear of others listening to her while she urinates in public.
     
  12. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    That is a way to do it, though I don't know how a younger kid could make it to the bathroom without anyone noticing. In that case, though, they could have easily labeled it a behavioural issue not related to anything else, and found a way for her to get permission quietly. The issues with going on the class trip sounds spot on.
     

Share This Page