Beyond the call?

5th November 2004 at 00:00
I have a troubled student who is very reliant on me. Like so many I teach she comes from a broken family and has suffered abuse. I have a family myself and value my time away from college, particularly over the summer break. The student has my phone number, an error on my part, and regularly calls me. This has caused friction at home as well as threatening the relationship I have with her. I am unsure what to do.

A: I once had a student of Chinese descent who had faced the most appalling racial attack in his home in Malaysia. He showed me his scars and talked about his with the immigration services who did not recognise the threat he was facing if he returned. I wanted to do more than just be a teacher but there are others, employed and, more importantly, qualified, to do just that job. You must try and keep clear boundaries and take full advantage of counselling and support services.

Dilemmas should be emailed to Donald Short at

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