For the second straight year, I have had a student approach me on this day in the Jewish calendar to wish me a Happy New Year. One could suggest that these students are being perceptive since I was born into a Jewish family. Or one could suggest that they have a poor sense of boundaries since I only look Jewish/sound Jewish (I complain a lot). But I am not at all a religious person. Indeed, I am pretty anti-religious when it comes down to it. So, it feels mighty awkward to me.
I guess I would never have imagined approaching a prof with an assumption about them and then acting on it. I know there is no ill intention--obviously, the opposite. But I still think that my religion or lack thereof is a private thing (only fit for blogging). I do mention other private things in class, like my family to illustrate various concepts (like my strategic dogs and what they imply for strategic thinking), but I never identify myself by religion. So, is it appropriate for students to assume that I am of one particular sect/brand/whatever and then appeal to the imagined community that the student thinks we share? Again, I think not.
This never happened before the last couple of years. Are folks being more presumptuous or am I just becoming too approachable and informal in class? Your guess is as good or better than mine.