Exchange on twitter:
My first response is you are a normal person. Don’t worry about proving it. My second response is: really, you are normal, no proof needed.
Third response: to some you will always be scary, and to others, you won’t.
For all the young profs, and postdocs’s and TA’s, nowhere on my unicorn list, is “make sure they perceive you as x, y, or z”. They will manage their perceptions. Humans beings (by and large, leaving out the sociopaths, psychopaths, and other pathetic types) respect those who respect them and you are in a unique position to help.
Grand conclusion: do not worry what they think about you. Be the best teacher and mentor that you can, in the ways that count as a teacher and mentor (which is not the easiest thing in the world to determine, hence the posts and requests for input), and things like scary and normal will take care of themselves. And for a role model go read Isis the Scientist.
There are two points, actually there are several, but two I’d like to emphasize: First, there are lots of people who will tell you what you should be doing and how you should do it. They by and large know nothing about you and are not interested in you. Your job is not to be their friend, live up to their expectations or even worry about if they find you scarey. Your job is to teach, to mentor, to encourage. Second, I offer my mother for you to channel when confronted with people (student people) have expectations of you and present them in a whinging or critical manner. She used to say on various occasions when I was particularly whiny or awful or even critical (of her): try to imagine how little I care.