I am in my early 30s, unmarried male. I teach engineering at a local university.
Each of my classes have around 30 students. I try to treat everyone fairly. There are of course students who do not want to interact and also who want to over interact, as well as the level headed ones. There's a fair number of female students in my class.
Now there are some female students who become emotionally invested in me, either silently or conspicuously. The silent ones have a hard time in maintaining eye contact with me, which I can live with; even though in my local culture, it is an etiquette to maintain eye contact in a student teacher setting. I am okay with it. This does not bother me much.
What bothers me are attention seeking female students. I can deal with the male ones. But with the female ones, I sometimes feel helpless. There are couple of things that come into play whenever a female student who might be emotionally interested in me tries to seek attention.
It is unprofessional to be uninterested in the most mundane question of a student.
Since that student is female, it is impolite to leave her hanging.
I have never been in any sort of relationship.
I have prioritised career over other seemingly important things in life; however when somebody challenges in a flirting duel I do not back down. I might have in any other scenarios, but it is my class, I do whatever it takes to have the upper hand... in order to maintain control.
Now all of these can be treated as fun and games for me. It might not be for a twenty years old student. I worry how their grades might be affected when they realize that I was only trying to be do my job without any ulterior motives.
So, my question is, is there a way to distance myself emotionally to twenty years old attention-seeking female students without being rude and at the same time trying to maintain control of my class?