Office Hours are standard practice in U.S. universities, but NOT normal here. Students will write a note when work is due saying they never understood the assignment, or crowd around me after class, each in their own crisis (& always the day I can’t stay to talk). So I made attending office hours mandatory. There’s a sign-up sheet. I see 12/week.
Some discuss their coursework, past or current or future pieces. But as often, students come to me as a therapist to discuss:
— Don’t be polite, just tell me honestly: Am I cut out for journalism work or not?
— I hate my job, do you think I should quit?
— The Propaganda Ministry takes us to resorts for luxurious long week-ends. We all think this is wrong but what can we do about it?
— You and your husband seem so happy. I don’t know what to do about my boyfriend who’s breaking my heart.
— If I work for the Chinese media, they’ll censor my stories. Is this the way I should spend my life?
— China acts with kindness and offers peace, harmony and goodwill to everyone. Why do Americans think our government is evil and feel hostile towards us?
— How is my English?
— What Chinese habits or behaviors do you think are strange?
— You’ve asked us to write a memoir but is anything about my life really interesting?
— Do my opinions really matter?
Questions to melt a heart of stone.