Why does my college professor stare at me?


Why does my college professor stare at me?
I’m a 22 year old med student and he’s my 35 year old anatomy professor.
Sometimes he’s just sitting at his desk not even talking, while we’re doing our work, and whenever I look at him he’ll already be looking at me. He even stares at me until I look away. Now, I do find him attractive and I might’ve stared at him a couple of times because of that, but it was totally unconscious.
What does this mean? I don’t know if he’s flirting with me or if he’s just staring at me out of curiosity because he caught me staring at him too.
I’m also a very shy girl so it was never my intention to let him know that I’m attracted to him. Now I’m kind of embarrassed.

Hi rz1999!

 

Thanks for trusting AlterHéros with your question!

So, to resume what I understand from your question, you are wondering why your teacher is staring at you. You don’t know if he’s flirting with you or if he’s staring at you because you sometimes stare at him too because you find him attractive.

First, you don’t have to feel embarrassed of your attraction to your teacher. It’s a common thing to have an attraction for someone who teaches you things, who’s there to support you and listens to you. There’s something called transfer in psychology, that is present between two persons  when one is teaching to the other or creating a safe space to learn. There’s nothing wrong in finding a person attractive even with the age difference.

The thing is that I can’t tell you the motivation behind the fact that your teacher is staring at you. Only himself has the answer to that. Like you said, maybe it’s because you find yourself sometimes staring at him and he’s wondering why, maybe he’s just watching the students doing their work, or maybe he also finds you attractive, we never know! But I’m wondering, are you comfortable with him staring at you? If you’re not, you can always find somebody to talk to at your school about this situation and maybe make him stop. You can also directly go talk to your teacher to have some answers, but I can’t, once again, tell you how he would react to that question. 

Since you’re 22, I don’t know if there’s a law against a relationship between a teacher and a student in your country, but maybe your teacher has to follow some rules at your school that prohibit this kind of relationship. Do you want to share with him the attraction that you feel? If you learn that he’s also attracted to you, what would you do next? Do you want to act on those feelings? All of that is really up to you. Just remember that you already have a student-teacher relationship, so he has a certain authority on you. The attraction that you feel for him can also be only motivated by that authority. It could be a sort of admiration… or not! Maybe you have to put the words on what you feel first and then choose what to do with that situation. Whatever your choice is, it’s your comfort that’s important!

I really want you to feel at ease in your class and I think that the best way for that is to talk about this situation to someone you trust in your school and think about what you feel. Maybe the way you see his behavior is tinted by the fact that you’re attracted to him, so you kind of mirror the situation. But I could also be really wrong and he could feel the same way as you. To have that kind of answer, the best way is to talk directly to your teacher, but don’t force yourself to do something you’re not sure of. 

I really hope I was able to help you with your reflection. Feel free to contact us again if you have other questions!

Wishing you the best, 

Émilie (elle/she), stagiaire à AlterHéros


About Émilie Grandmont

Émilie is a bisexual and polyamorous woman. She has a a bachelor's degree in sexology from UQAM. She entered the program with the goal of learning more about sexual and gender diversity, sexual health and intersectional sex education. Today, she wants to help survivors of sexual assault and offer an inclusive and safe listening experience to anyone in the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Her friends would describe her as an animal lover, afraid of butterflies and hard to wake up in the wee hours of the morning.