Freaked out in lecture and not sure how to get things back to normal. Advice? Watch

Anonymous #1
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I'm technically finished my first year in that all of my assessments have finished, but they're still holding lectures and workshops, which we don't have to attend but they said they would be useful next year, so I went.
I forgot this one was a workshop with a guest lecturer until I got there, but then figured I might as well stick around.
The guest lecturer immediately said this workshop bore no resemblance to the creative writing module next year. Okay, then. I was there already and there were only about 20 people there, including me, him, and a regular lecturer, and we were all sat around a giant table at the front of the room, so I figured I couldn't just get up and leave. It would be weird and also I have pretty bad anxiety so I didn't really want to draw attention to myself.

So the guest lecturer started by leading us in meditation, which was awful to begin with. I've tried it before and it's not my thing, but I sat through it.
Then he said to write about whatever we thought of first. He said we have 2 minutes. I had no idea what to write, and I don't tend to write creatively, so he walked around watching us write and then at the end of the 2 mins snatched my blank paper from me, and said "she's scared, don't be like her". It annoyed me, and when people laughed I got embarrassed, but it wasn't anything I couldn't brush off.
Then he went back into meditation and told us to think of our most traumatic memory and write about it. His actual words were "the most traumatic memory you can conjure up". My mind immediately went to something I'd rather not talk about in detail, and once it was there I couldn't think of anything else. Because of this, I struggled, once again, to write anything. Not only did I struggle to write anything, but I began to panic. And this is like anxiety type of panic - sweaty palms, mild trembling, nausea, someone told me I'd gone pale - and the whole time I was in the early stages of an anxiety attack the guest lecturer was loudly saying to everyone else that I was, once again, not writing anything. He made a joke out of it which made everyone laugh, again. I excused myself intending to leave, but I forgot my stuff so I went to get a drink, calmed myself down a bit, then went back in.
I sat down, I had my cup of water so he didn't say anything to me and probably assumed I'd just gone for the drink. He kept talking about his workshop topics and then he got us all to take some deep breaths then raise both our arms above our head. My arms did go up, but not extremely high. He then came around the back of me, grabbed both my wrists, and yanked my arms up. I completely flipped out. I didn't scream or anything, but I yanked my arms back and grabbed my stuff and left.
Not everyone from my course was there, but about 15-20 were, and a bunch of people have messaged asking if I'm okay. This includes people not in the workshop, who I can only assume have been told what happened by people who were there. The regular lecturer who was there also emailed me but I'm scared to read it. I also have an email from the guest lecturer. I don't want to deal with it, I just want to forget about the whole thing, but everyone there seems to remember what happened and how it happened. I hate that I just ran out but I didn't know what else to do. I felt like I was going to have a full on anxiety attack in the middle of the workshop, so I just got out of there.
What can I do and how can I handle this so people just stop asking me?
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BeetRoots
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Guest lecturer or insensitive nutter?
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm technically finished my first year in that all of my assessments have finished, but they're still holding lectures and workshops, which we don't have to attend but they said they would be useful next year, so I went.
I forgot this one was a workshop with a guest lecturer until I got there, but then figured I might as well stick around.
The guest lecturer immediately said this workshop bore no resemblance to the creative writing module next year. Okay, then. I was there already and there were only about 20 people there, including me, him, and a regular lecturer, and we were all sat around a giant table at the front of the room, so I figured I couldn't just get up and leave. It would be weird and also I have pretty bad anxiety so I didn't really want to draw attention to myself.

So the guest lecturer started by leading us in meditation, which was awful to begin with. I've tried it before and it's not my thing, but I sat through it.
Then he said to write about whatever we thought of first. He said we have 2 minutes. I had no idea what to write, and I don't tend to write creatively, so he walked around watching us write and then at the end of the 2 mins snatched my blank paper from me, and said "she's scared, don't be like her". It annoyed me, and when people laughed I got embarrassed, but it wasn't anything I couldn't brush off.
Then he went back into meditation and told us to think of our most traumatic memory and write about it. His actual words were "the most traumatic memory you can conjure up". My mind immediately went to something I'd rather not talk about in detail, and once it was there I couldn't think of anything else. Because of this, I struggled, once again, to write anything. Not only did I struggle to write anything, but I began to panic. And this is like anxiety type of panic - sweaty palms, mild trembling, nausea, someone told me I'd gone pale - and the whole time I was in the early stages of an anxiety attack the guest lecturer was loudly saying to everyone else that I was, once again, not writing anything. He made a joke out of it which made everyone laugh, again. I excused myself intending to leave, but I forgot my stuff so I went to get a drink, calmed myself down a bit, then went back in.
I sat down, I had my cup of water so he didn't say anything to me and probably assumed I'd just gone for the drink. He kept talking about his workshop topics and then he got us all to take some deep breaths then raise both our arms above our head. My arms did go up, but not extremely high. He then came around the back of me, grabbed both my wrists, and yanked my arms up. I completely flipped out. I didn't scream or anything, but I yanked my arms back and grabbed my stuff and left.
Not everyone from my course was there, but about 15-20 were, and a bunch of people have messaged asking if I'm okay. This includes people not in the workshop, who I can only assume have been told what happened by people who were there. The regular lecturer who was there also emailed me but I'm scared to read it. I also have an email from the guest lecturer. I don't want to deal with it, I just want to forget about the whole thing, but everyone there seems to remember what happened and how it happened. I hate that I just ran out but I didn't know what else to do. I felt like I was going to have a full on anxiety attack in the middle of the workshop, so I just got out of there.
What can I do and how can I handle this so people just stop asking me?
Wow OP - I'm sorry you had this experience This doesn't sound nice. The number of messages asking if you are okay suggests to me that other people present felt the lecturer went too far, too.

When did this happen? You don't have to do anything just yet so don't pressure yourself. What are you worried about reading if you open the email from your regular lecturer..?
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Anonymous #2
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hes a bit a lun for having fun at other people's expense , but if you want things to go back to normal don't think your weird for freaking out realize that its okay to freak out and that it happened its okay to be sad or anxious don't be afraid to show it don't lock yourself up clearly you must be anxious about something. you know how people say talking and opening up is good , when you try it you;ll realize why, express your emotions people do care why hide when in 70 years time you'll be dead, just think theres a whole universe out there what is a small incident really worth caring about. be bold cause i know you are. If you feel awkward acknowledge it laugh it off, honestly you should get to a point where when he said " don't be afraid like her" i want you to stand up for yourself if it bothers you, because he may not have realized you were upset or hes a bit of a ****.
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Little Popcorns
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Compensation from him
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
Wow OP - I'm sorry you had this experience This doesn't sound nice. The number of messages asking if you are okay suggests to me that other people present felt the lecturer went too far, too.

When did this happen? You don't have to do anything just yet so don't pressure yourself. What are you worried about reading if you open the email from your regular lecturer..?
It's over now but I need to deal with the aftermath. Everyone laughed at his jokes but maybe it was more nervous laughter where they didn't know what else to do?
It was this morning. The workshop was from 10 until 12. I've been getting messages since I left, around 11.
I'm not sure. Regular lecturer said she invited the guest lecturer because he was her friend. Best case scenario - she's just following up on the workshop. Worst case scenario - she says that her friend was doing her a favour and I upset/angered/embarrassed him and expects an explanation or apology.
(Original post by Anonymous)
hes a bit a lun for having fun at other people's expense , but if you want things to go back to normal don't think your weird for freaking out realize that its okay to freak out and that it happened its okay to be sad or anxious don't be afraid to show it don't lock yourself up clearly you must be anxious about something. you know how people say talking and opening up is good , when you try it you;ll realize why, express your emotions people do care why hide when in 70 years time you'll be dead, just think theres a whole universe out there what is a small incident really worth caring about. be bold cause i know you are. If you feel awkward acknowledge it laugh it off, honestly you should get to a point where when he said " don't be afraid like her" i want you to stand up for yourself if it bothers you, because he may not have realized you were upset or hes a bit of a ****.
I'm not sure how to phrase this in a not jokey way but the thing making me anxious is my anxiety.
Same reason I didn't leave sooner than I did. I'm fine expressing emotions normally but in this particular scenario I had some issues with that whole concept.
(Original post by BeetRoots)
Guest lecturer or insensitive nutter?
Can't he be both? Duality of man.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm technically finished my first year in that all of my assessments have finished, but they're still holding lectures and workshops, which we don't have to attend but they said they would be useful next year, so I went.
I forgot this one was a workshop with a guest lecturer until I got there, but then figured I might as well stick around.
The guest lecturer immediately said this workshop bore no resemblance to the creative writing module next year. Okay, then. I was there already and there were only about 20 people there, including me, him, and a regular lecturer, and we were all sat around a giant table at the front of the room, so I figured I couldn't just get up and leave. It would be weird and also I have pretty bad anxiety so I didn't really want to draw attention to myself.

So the guest lecturer started by leading us in meditation, which was awful to begin with. I've tried it before and it's not my thing, but I sat through it.
Then he said to write about whatever we thought of first. He said we have 2 minutes. I had no idea what to write, and I don't tend to write creatively, so he walked around watching us write and then at the end of the 2 mins snatched my blank paper from me, and said "she's scared, don't be like her". It annoyed me, and when people laughed I got embarrassed, but it wasn't anything I couldn't brush off.
Then he went back into meditation and told us to think of our most traumatic memory and write about it. His actual words were "the most traumatic memory you can conjure up". My mind immediately went to something I'd rather not talk about in detail, and once it was there I couldn't think of anything else. Because of this, I struggled, once again, to write anything. Not only did I struggle to write anything, but I began to panic. And this is like anxiety type of panic - sweaty palms, mild trembling, nausea, someone told me I'd gone pale - and the whole time I was in the early stages of an anxiety attack the guest lecturer was loudly saying to everyone else that I was, once again, not writing anything. He made a joke out of it which made everyone laugh, again. I excused myself intending to leave, but I forgot my stuff so I went to get a drink, calmed myself down a bit, then went back in.
I sat down, I had my cup of water so he didn't say anything to me and probably assumed I'd just gone for the drink. He kept talking about his workshop topics and then he got us all to take some deep breaths then raise both our arms above our head. My arms did go up, but not extremely high. He then came around the back of me, grabbed both my wrists, and yanked my arms up. I completely flipped out. I didn't scream or anything, but I yanked my arms back and grabbed my stuff and left.
Not everyone from my course was there, but about 15-20 were, and a bunch of people have messaged asking if I'm okay. This includes people not in the workshop, who I can only assume have been told what happened by people who were there. The regular lecturer who was there also emailed me but I'm scared to read it. I also have an email from the guest lecturer. I don't want to deal with it, I just want to forget about the whole thing, but everyone there seems to remember what happened and how it happened. I hate that I just ran out but I didn't know what else to do. I felt like I was going to have a full on anxiety attack in the middle of the workshop, so I just got out of there.
What can I do and how can I handle this so people just stop asking me?
Personally, that guest lecturer sounds like an awful person. Making you an 'example' of what not to do, singling you out, and encouraging others to laugh at your expense is not what a good lecturer does (nor any decent person for that matter).

The thing that damns him the most is that he grabbed you. That is not on. Touching someone anywhere for any length of time without the person's consent is, at the very least, grounds for a complaint. I wouldn't even accept that behaviour from a lecturer I knew and respected, let alone a stranger. I probably would have done exactly the same as you did - his continued digs and unwanted comments would have been enough to make me want to leave anyway.

The emails you received are probably damage control (he probably knows he overstepped the mark, or at least he was told that he had). Don't under any circumstances apologise - you didn't overreact or embarrass anyone. The guest lecturer is the one that should be doing the apologising.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
Personally, that guest lecturer sounds like an awful person. Making you an 'example' of what not to do, singling you out, and encouraging others to laugh at your expense is not what a good lecturer does (nor any decent person for that matter).

The thing that damns him the most is that he grabbed you. That is not on. Touching someone anywhere for any length of time without the person's consent is, at the very least, grounds for a complaint. I wouldn't even accept that behaviour from a lecturer I knew and respected, let alone a stranger. I probably would have done exactly the same as you did - his continued digs and unwanted comments would have been enough to make me want to leave anyway.

The emails you received are probably damage control (he probably knows he overstepped the mark, or at least he was told that he had). Don't under any circumstances apologise - you didn't overreact or embarrass anyone. The guest lecturer is the one that should be doing the apologising.
The grabbing was definitely the worst bit. I suppose he couldn't have known what I was thinking about but the grabbing and yanking my wrists was the exact worst thing that could have happened to me in that moment. He did it to a couple of other people, but they didn't mind so much. He also put his hand on a guy's chest to get him to "breathe deeply enough". That guy didn't seem to mind, either. Although I was admittedly distracted from other people.
I haven't checked them because while there aren't read receipts attached, once I go on the email website they'll both be able to see when I was online. I won't apologise, even if my regular lecturer tells me to, but all I can think is that surely she knew what kind of workshops he ran? She says they are friends and she thinks he is a great workshopper, implying that she's seen him workshop. She must have know about the meditation and "the most traumatic memory you can conjure up" stuff, and she didn't think to give anyone a heads up.
It's just all really raw for me right now and it feels stranger and stranger the more I think about it tbh, although that could be that I'm overthinking.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Anonymous)
The grabbing was definitely the worst bit. I suppose he couldn't have known what I was thinking about but the grabbing and yanking my wrists was the exact worst thing that could have happened to me in that moment. He did it to a couple of other people, but they didn't mind so much. He also put his hand on a guy's chest to get him to "breathe deeply enough". That guy didn't seem to mind, either. Although I was admittedly distracted from other people.
I haven't checked them because while there aren't read receipts attached, once I go on the email website they'll both be able to see when I was online. I won't apologise, even if my regular lecturer tells me to, but all I can think is that surely she knew what kind of workshops he ran? She says they are friends and she thinks he is a great workshopper, implying that she's seen him workshop. She must have know about the meditation and "the most traumatic memory you can conjure up" stuff, and she didn't think to give anyone a heads up.
It's just all really raw for me right now and it feels stranger and stranger the more I think about it tbh, although that could be that I'm overthinking.
Just because the others didn't seem to mind, doesn't mean that they didn't feel the same way as you but didn't show it.

I come from a community where meditation and spiritual activities are commonplace, and what he did very much isn't in line with that. No meditation leader would manhandle members of their group without their permission, much less ask them to relive past traumatic events. That could be potentially triggering and damaging, and are not the kind of feelings that meditation is designed to facilitate. You could put this down to your lecturer misjudging their friend's work, or potentially feeling like they can't criticise a fellow lecturer.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
Just because the others didn't seem to mind, doesn't mean that they didn't feel the same way as you but didn't show it.

I come from a community where meditation and spiritual activities are commonplace, and what he did very much isn't in line with that. No meditation leader would manhandle members of their group without their permission, much less ask them to relive past traumatic events. That could be potentially triggering and damaging, and are not the kind of feelings that meditation is designed to facilitate. You could put this down to your lecturer misjudging their friend's work, or potentially feeling like they can't criticise a fellow lecturer.
I mean they probably minded but I wasn't really focused on them. If that sounds mean I don't mean it to.
He also made us put away all our electronics, and one student, who has a wrist problem and has to write on a laptop because handwriting stuff hurts her wrist, was definitely unhappy about that. She tried to tell him, he didn't listen.
It was a creative writing workshop and he said the meditation was to "put us all at ease" because "discomfort does not lead to creation" or something equally weird. I mean, all that confuses me is that this lecturer is the head of department, and invited him to do this workshop, despite having read everyone's files, and anyone like me who is on medication or has a mental health issue, has a note in their file saying not to do this kind of stuff if they might be there, and I know of at least 3 other people in the workshop with this note. It's just all very weird, to be honest.
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Fermion.
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You should report him.
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doodle_333
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Read the emails and get that stress over with. Chances are they're checking in on you and if not... Well they are idiots. You don't force things like meditation on any one, you don't ever ask people to focus on trauma and you certainly don't touch people with out permission. If you want to, make a formal complaint. If not...you're gonna have 2+ months off for summer, just ignore everyone and they'll forget about it by September.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Fermion.)
You should report him.
I'm not sure there's anyone to report him to... He was a guest lecturer and only coming in for this and I think 1 or 2 other workshops? He might be gone by the time I file it.
(Original post by doodle_333)
Read the emails and get that stress over with. Chances are they're checking in on you and if not... Well they are idiots. You don't force things like meditation on any one, you don't ever ask people to focus on trauma and you certainly don't touch people with out permission. If you want to, make a formal complaint. If not...you're gonna have 2+ months off for summer, just ignore everyone and they'll forget about it by September.
The guest lecturer was really annoying. He actually said "I'm sorry you may have been upset by the lesson I was teaching but I saw no reason to alter my carefully planned workshop as no other student had an issue" which was basically the equivalent of calling me a crybaby. The plan was to read his then read the lecturer's but after seeing that I can't look at my lecturers.
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PhoenixFortune
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(Original post by Anonymous)
The guest lecturer was really annoying. He actually said "I'm sorry you may have been upset by the lesson I was teaching but I saw no reason to alter my carefully planned workshop as no other student had an issue" which was basically the equivalent of calling me a crybaby. The plan was to read his then read the lecturer's but after seeing that I can't look at my lecturers.
The whole point of being a lecturer/teacher/instructor is to be able to adapt to the needs of the group you're working with (within reason). It just shows that he's not really sorry and comes across as pretty defensive.
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Puddles the Monkey
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(Original post by Anonymous)
He actually said "I'm sorry you may have been upset by the lesson I was teaching but I saw no reason to alter my carefully planned workshop as no other student had an issue"
:facepalm:

How are you feeling about it all now OP?

When you feel able to I would read the email from the other lecturer and consider scheduling in a time to talk to your personal tutor about this? The university needs to hear the feedback about this.
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death07/08/17
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The lecturer will almost definitely be kinder. Rip the plaster off and read the email. You can't be made to apologise for getting anxious and excusing yourself from a non-compulsory lecture
(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm not sure there's anyone to report him to... He was a guest lecturer and only coming in for this and I think 1 or 2 other workshops? He might be gone by the time I file it.

The guest lecturer was really annoying. He actually said "I'm sorry you may have been upset by the lesson I was teaching but I saw no reason to alter my carefully planned workshop as no other student had an issue" which was basically the equivalent of calling me a crybaby. The plan was to read his then read the lecturer's but after seeing that I can't look at my lecturers.
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toronto353
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(Original post by Anonymous)
I'm not sure there's anyone to report him to... He was a guest lecturer and only coming in for this and I think 1 or 2 other workshops? He might be gone by the time I file it.

The guest lecturer was really annoying. He actually said "I'm sorry you may have been upset by the lesson I was teaching but I saw no reason to alter my carefully planned workshop as no other student had an issue" which was basically the equivalent of calling me a crybaby. The plan was to read his then read the lecturer's but after seeing that I can't look at my lecturers.
If you feel like making a complaint, then I would do so. Often guest lecturers return year in year out and so while you may not have any impact on him coming this week, you may have some impact on him returning next year.

As someone who teaches at a university, I'm appalled by his attitude. Firstly, teachers should not be targeting students for lack of work or be touching them as he did; it's completely inappropriate behaviour. Secondly, teachers need to be flexible in their approach to lessons. If someone doesn't want to do a task that's been set, it's the job of the teacher to find out why that is and then to adapt or at least be flexible towards that specific individual. I'm honestly shocked at his behaviour and you're absolutely right to feel the way you do about this situation.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by PhoenixFortune)
The whole point of being a lecturer/teacher/instructor is to be able to adapt to the needs of the group you're working with (within reason). It just shows that he's not really sorry and comes across as pretty defensive.
Yeah and the "I'm sorry you may have been upset" is pretty much one step away from "I'm sorry if you felt". With the phrasing, it just feels like he's pinning it all on me and I'm not about that.
(Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
:facepalm:

How are you feeling about it all now OP?

When you feel able to I would read the email from the other lecturer and consider scheduling in a time to talk to your personal tutor about this? The university needs to hear the feedback about this.
(Original post by death07/08/17)
The lecturer will almost definitely be kinder. Rip the plaster off and read the email. You can't be made to apologise for getting anxious and excusing yourself from a non-compulsory lecture
I feel really bad about it, tbh. I felt bad already for leaving when I did and felt like I caused a scene and upset people by leaving, and now I've got this email from him where he gets defensive and basically comes as close as he can to calling me over emotional/ overly sensitive without actually using the words. Some other people in the class said they got an email from the lecturer just asking how they all thought about the workshop. From what they've said, they haven't responded in his favour. A lot of them told me they accused him of "singling students out" and one of my friends on the course told me that she replied saying that he shouldn't have done what he did and he should have been "less of a d*ck to [my name]". That was her actual phrasing.
I looked at the survey email, and then I checked her second one that only I got, and she basically said that she didn't know why I had to leave early but if I did have to leave early could I please remember to let her know as the guest lecturer was surprised by my actions. Her emails were sent within a few minutes of each other. His email was sent a few hours after her survey went out, so my guess is that she's read him the responses and they both realised he effed up. I think she's had him apologise personally to detract from the fact that she was the one who brought him here.
(Original post by toronto353)
If you feel like making a complaint, then I would do so. Often guest lecturers return year in year out and so while you may not have any impact on him coming this week, you may have some impact on him returning next year.

As someone who teaches at a university, I'm appalled by his attitude. Firstly, teachers should not be targeting students for lack of work or be touching them as he did; it's completely inappropriate behaviour. Secondly, teachers need to be flexible in their approach to lessons. If someone doesn't want to do a task that's been set, it's the job of the teacher to find out why that is and then to adapt or at least be flexible towards that specific individual. I'm honestly shocked at his behaviour and you're absolutely right to feel the way you do about this situation.
He asked me the first time why I wasn't writing, but I couldn't say much. Thankfully, my friend next to me had only written a few words, so she took over, saying why she struggled to write, and then turned to me and said "was it the same for you, too?" so I got away with just nodding. He asked my name and when I told him he said he couldn't hear me, so he kept asking and wouldn't stop until I yelled it to him, even though he was only sat a few chairs away and could absolutely hear me the first time, and after that he actually said "[my name], not writing again, what a surprise". The whole thing was pretty awful tbh.
I feel even worse now, though. After I got that email from him, I checked the emails from my actual lecturer who said that I should have let her know I was leaving early in advance, because it confused him and reminded me that he was a guest, which I think is code for "don't upset him, he might not come back".
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Anonymous #3
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You’ve done nothing wrong. He shouldn’t expect people to be okay with touching them without asking. I can only imagine how distressing the whole situation was for you, as someone who suffers from anxiety, I can assure you that you did the best thing you could have in the situation you were in.

It doesn’t matter that he was a guest, he was in the wrong and it’s not like you could have said beforehand “oh sorry I think this workshop isn’t going to be good for me so I’m leaving at 11”. I think they should take responsibility and apologise, instead of trying to make you feel like you’re in the wrong. It’s totally unprofessional and disgusting how they’ve both dealt with the matter. You don’t need to feel bad at all, AT ALL. I can’t repeat this enough, you haven’t done anything wrong and I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through this.
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doodle_333
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Was your lecturer actually there? I would really make a complaint. You are within your rights to walk out of any room where you are treated so disrespectful. And to try and pin this on you is absurd. May be the guy has done this 20x and it was fine but the point is you don't do it because 1/20 you'll seriously upset someone and you can't tell in advance who those people are. Make a complaint, to someone other than your lecturer... that you were treated like that in a lecture you attended by choice and that you felt essentially blamed for it later when frankly I assumed your lecturer would just be checking in and ensuring you were ok as that's the only reasonably response.
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No I am happy with my course choice (516)
59.11%
I'm using Clearing when I have my exam results (127)
14.55%

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