Sometimes giving a student a hug is just the right thing to do

Hugs

Human compassion and appropriate professional behaviour aren’t always the same thing.

A while ago, an adult student disclosed some really upsetting news to me and tears started to stream down her face. She looked broken. My natural reaction was to envelop her in my arms to try to give her some maternal comfort. But I fought my instinct because: a) the intention with which I gave the hug might be received in an entirely different way; and b) physical contact between a teacher and student, even an adult student, is not appropriate.

There’s a difference in power and status implicit in the ...

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