Ask Amy: Fanning reactions to hot flashes in class

Tribune Media News ServiceSeptember 30, 2013 

Dear Amy: I am a high school math teacher. I am having frequent and intense hot flashes in class while standing in front of a group of juniors and seniors.

How do I address with my students the fact that I am suddenly bright red and soaking wet? I do not think it is appropriate to explain that I am having menopausal hot flashes.

THE TEACH

Dear Teach: You know your students and their capabilities and maturity level, so if you don’t think it’s appropriate to disclose the very commonplace and factual reason for your sudden and obvious physical manifestations, then I suggest you keep a fan handy and simply deal with your symptoms with no explanation.

However, I think you run the risk of creating confusion (or rumors because of misinformation) when it could be dispatched and dealt with fairly quickly. Let’s say you have a sudden hot flash in fifth-period calculus. You can say, “Sorry, class, I’m having a hot flash. Let me fan myself and take a drink of water and it should go away. Whew!”

Any students who are sufficiently fascinated can very easily do an Internet search to discover what’s going on. Soon enough this will become just another aspect of the natural progression of your day.

When I ran your question past a high schooler in my life, she said, “Nobody really notices what’s going on with the teachers.”

Dear Amy: I have a very dear lifelong friend who has been a spiritual mentor, but over the past few years she has become increasingly engaged in Facebook romances — all the while complaining about her husband and alleging that he’s doing the same thing.

I don’t want to judge but I feel compromised when she talks about her online “friends,” especially since she has not addressed the problems within her marriage over the years.

I want to keep the friendship, but I’d like to close the door on being told of online romances.

FRIEND IN NEED

Dear Friend: Based on what you report, it is really tough to see what about this person makes her an adequate friend.

Friends tell the truth to one another. Friends do their best to listen.

I take you at your word that you want to stay friends with this manipulative train wreck. Practice saying this: “This makes me uncomfortable. Let’s change the subject, OK?”

askamy@tribune.com

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