Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Student Who Had Erotic Daydreams in Class

Dayton, November 2007

There's a secret that all college professors know, but students don't.

We can see what they are doing in class.

We're standing, and they're sitting, so we always have an excellent view of the first row.  In small classes, or classrooms arranged in tiers, we have an excellent view of everyone.

So we know when they're trying to type a text message, or sneak a peek at their notes during an exam.

And other things.

College students don't check their erotic desires at the lecture hall door, and 21-year olds don't even need an erotic stimulus -- things just happen.

Bulging and tenting.  And hands moving down there, trying to cover it.  Sometimes even helping it along.

I had a colleague who used to walk up to tenting students and ask "Do you need to be excused to take care of that?"

But I won't say anything to the student -- to acknowledge that I have noticed would be terribly embarrassing for both of us.

So I just enjoy the spectacle.

I have only mentioned it to the student once, when I was teaching in Dayton.  The student -- I'll call him Raheem -- sat in a tier where his lap was exactly at my eye level.

And he wasn't just trying to cover an occasional tent. Two or three times per class, he slid his his hand all the way down into his pants, felt around for a few moments to make sure everything was arranged properly, and slid his hand out again.

It was very distracting, to me and no doubt to the students around him.

I asked my faculty mentor what to do.  He said "Raheem is obviously a homophobe, trying to get a rise out of you so he can claim sexual harassment,  You should confront him and tell him that his behavior is inappropriate."

But Raheem wasn't looking at me during his beneath-the-belt explorations.  He was staring into space, bored by the lecture and letting his mind wander. No doubt to erotic thoughts.

So I sent him an email:

"I'm sure you don't realize it, but from my position in the front of the class, I'm looking directly at your lap.  So be careful not to sneak a text message or do anything else that you don't want me to know about."

How would Raheem respond?  Would he not understand what I meant?  Would he angrily deny doing anything?  Would he say "I was hoping to get your attention!"

He didn't respond to my email, but the next day after class, he came up to my desk and wordlessly handed me an envelope.  It contained a beautiful "Thank You" card with the inscription "Thanks for the heads-up!  I'll be more careful!"

The beneath-the-belt explorations stopped.  But soon I discovered the reason for them -- when Raheem didn't rearrange himself, he spent most of the class sessions tenting.

That was even more distracting.

See also: My Student Gets Naked in Class; and The Theater Major with a Professor Fetish.

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