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Unread 02-20-2013, 09:43 PM   #1
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When is it time to stop?

This is a bit of a dilemma I've come across. I am getting ready to teach art history at the university I graduated from beginning in the fall. I love to cosplay at conventions, but I know I will have students who will be attending the same conventions as me. It doesn't help that I staff and am visibly everywhere (I won't quit staffing - I love that too much). Should I discontinue cosplaying in order to keep a level of professionalism with my students who attend, or should I say "screw it!" and do it anyway?"
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Unread 02-20-2013, 09:50 PM   #2
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I wouldn't worry; most higher-level teching professions, especially in arts, don't exactly frown upon less common creative hobbies. Don't publicly post photos you might regret (and really, that goes for ANY subject, not just cosplay, and there's many more worse things to hide from the public than the fact that you like to prance around in odd getups) and don't openly advertise it to people you think might have a problem with it, and go on your merry way. Letting students who share your hobby know about it too can lead to friendships and/or better teacher-student relationships as well.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 10:58 PM   #3
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I teach in a public high school and we are under more scrutiny than university professors due to the age of the students and public nature of things yet I continue to go to cons. At every con I've been to I have run into students from my school and it has never been an issue. Sure it might be awkward at first to run into your students, but you're going to run into them out in public no matter what. Just be cool with things and don't behave foolishly and there won't be any problems. I personally enjoy sharing con experiences with the students at my school the week after a con.

I would say that your biggest dilemma if any would be your age since it sounds like you might be rather close in age to your students since you're beginning your teaching. It can be difficult maintaining your teacher aura when you're close in age to your students. They might view you as a peer rather than an authority figure at first.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 11:30 PM   #4
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I think if you keep your cosplay life and professional life separate, it shouldn't be a problem. I've seen many teachers who cosplay, and they are very careful as to not have their pictures published on facebook or anything. Don't openly talk about it in class obviously. At cons, be sure to behave yourself in case your students do see you. (Since you staff, I'm sure you do). I think you should be fine.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 11:45 PM   #5
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I can't speak for your exact situation. However, I think as long as make sure your behaviour is somewhat toned down, you should likely be able to continue. For example, you probably don't want a student who does/does not recognise you to snap a raunchy suggestive photo and post it online. As long as you're not acting like a drunken buffoon, I don't think the administration at the university will care. If you come across a student, be polite as if you were in a classroom setting. No need to be cold, but you are not "friends" regardless of your rapport.

As for the point guitargirlts9 brought up, I find that sometimes to be the case, but that such cases do not depend solely on age. For example, I had a graduate student for a TA, and our ages were such that we were only 3 years apart; we could have been in upper secondary school together! He was basically a nice-guy-big-brother type, so I went out of my way to refer to him as Mr So-and-so, in order not to forget that he was my teacher. On the other hand, I have had instructors 15 to 35 years older who I have seen variously as elder siblings, mentors, and even hopelessly cute moeblobs to protect, as well as those who I simply saw as instructors; it all depends on the aura of the instructor, as well as the culture he/she grew up understanding. Even with the ones I felt very familiar with, we always propped up glass walls in our own ways, at least until he/she was no longer my instructor; especially if you are close in age to your students, I would make sure the glass wall always is present and acknowledged.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 06:27 AM   #6
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I don't really see as there's an issue with you attending cons, as long as you're not taking drunken half-naked photos of yourself to put online (which you shouldn't be doing anyway.)

I don't know about the rest of you, but in university my TAs were always more like super-knowledgeable buddies than scary authority figures anyways. I (and my classmates) actually did run into one of them at a con on campus, and my first thought was, 'Sweet! So-and-so also likes anime!' It didn't really have an impact on the class dynamic. We went to the con on the weekend, then went back to conjugating verbs on Monday as usual.

Obviously, take into account your university's viewpoint on such things, but generally speaking it oughtn't to be a problem.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 09:37 AM   #7
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When does it stop being fun? I don't think there is anything wrong about doing it as a teacher, but will you be so worried about the stigma that you can't enjoy yourself anymore? Just stop when it's not fun.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #8
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I think it will be okay to have different hobbies. It's not like you're hobby is harmful or criminal. Besides, you are in art. I had a history teacher in high school who does reenactments. I think your students won't mind and will probably enjoy seeing you there since they will see you as not just a professor but as a regular person.
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Unread 02-21-2013, 10:53 AM   #9
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I'm a TA at a large university and probably have some risk in running into students at local cons. I don't know how much I really want them to know my hobbies, as I'm fairly private with them, but I highly doubt that I would be looked down upon for cosplay if the students are at a con themselves. And if I am - *shrug* - I'm not trying to be cool for them; I'm trying to teach them chemistry.

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Unread 02-21-2013, 02:26 PM   #10
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I teach middle school and high school children and still cosplay. While the bulk of conventions I attend are out of state, I have run into some of my students at a small local convention 2.5 hrs away. The ones who did see me in cosplay did not recognize me simply because my cosplay look is completely different from how I dress for work: for cosplay I ditch my glasses, wear colored contacts, wigs, eye makeup, fancy cosplays, etc. So if you cosplay things that are a far cry from how you dress on the job, most students do not notice. While I suppose my administration would not really care, I would never tell anyone that I cosplay as it is not their business it is just easier to keep things separate, living a superhero kind of life.

If you are concerned about running into them, you could always try a new convention/event or two. That said, time when you are not at work is just that, your time. You are allowed to have crazy hobbies etc. just play things smart, gage your situation and let that help you determine how/what you should do etc. It is not illegal or immoral so I think you can still teach AND have cosplay in your life.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 02:02 AM   #11
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Ion has a good point. Lots of good advice there.

From a student perspective: At first, I'd think it would be weird to have run into any of my old teachers at a con., but after getting over the shock of realizing the school doesn't just 'switch them off' at the end of class, I think it would be pretty cool. I would have loved it if any of my teachers did that.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 04:55 AM   #12
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I don't think you should stop at all.
Yes, you could run into some of your students at a con and they might even recognize you, but I don't see how this would be bad.
I always thought it was pretty cool to see what my teachers do outside of school and if they shared my hobbies, then it's even better. If they come up and talk to you, be honest about it, have a chat with them or whatever. If they don't recognize you, then go on with your business.

Cosplay is nothing you should be ashamed of or has a bad influence on your students at all, so I really don't see a point in quitting it now.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 08:48 AM   #13
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Another teacher here. I teach middle school & it's never crossed my mind to stop cosplaying. I'd think that teaching at the university level would be even LESS of an issue.

The PPs bring up a good, well-known internet point: just don't be dumb. Don't post pictures that you wouldn't want them to see, don't act in a way you wouldn't want them to see, etc.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 11:05 AM   #14
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I actually have a professor or two that openly admit to attending renaissance fairs in costume and character (role playing). I've also been in a similar situation as a supervisor with employees (different from teaching, I realize, but a similar dynamic). It's only awkward and unprofessional if you make it that way.
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Unread 02-22-2013, 11:17 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Art1st4786 View Post
Should I discontinue cosplaying in order to keep a level of professionalism with my students who attend, or should I say "screw it!" and do it anyway?"
Now, if only all students could tell themselves "I should quit drugs and booze to keep a level of professionalism at the institutes I study at".

If you like it, keep at it --- the fact you teach doesn't mean you don't have hobbies or things you enjoy outside of it.
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