You know the type: this person seems really nice but then he or she starts talking. Within minutes the individual has shared every bad thing that has ever happened to him or her for the past _____ years.
Please don’t do that to your professor. I am not a trained psychologist. I am not your therapist. I am not the Psycho warden. I am being paid to teach you a specific topic, not to listen to your woes.
Now, before you say that it sounds like I don’t care, please hold off judgment. In any given term, I have 150 students, all with needs. If you share your tales of woe, expecting me to give you counsel, then it takes away time that I could spend with them, working on whatever topic I am being paid to teach them.
I really do care. If you are in a bad situation, then I will refer you to the appropriate department at my school. Share enough so that I know who to send you to, but please don’t flood my in-box with your life history.
Please don’t find my home phone number and call me at odd hours. Please don’t think that, just because you have my cellphone number (which I am required to give you), that you can call me Sunday night at 10:30 or Monday morning at 1:20, to tell me your Internet is down. (Yes, it has happened. Yes, I was asleep both times.)
If we were in a face-to-face class, you would be able to talk to me before and after class and during office hours. Please respect those guidelines, whether you are a face-to-face or online student. I care about my students, but please don’t over-share. I am not your shrink.