As someone who is extremely close in age to my students (I have a student this semester who is actually a year older than me) I struggle with being my “authentic teaching self”. If asked to describe myself as a teacher, I would describe myself as: friendly, supportive, encouraging, etc. One word I wish I could use to describe my teaching style is open. Although I do try to be open with my students to an extent, I struggle to feel like I can open myself up to them to the extent that I would like to. My worry is that if I open myself up more I will lose the air of professionalism that I have been able to create. My hope is that once I am in a more “professional” role, rather than working in a GTA capacity, I will feel that I have the freedom to be more open with my students and create stronger connections without the fear of losing their respect.