I know I have a bit of a reputation at school for being a little maternal with my students, especially some of the younger and/or more nervous ones. Partly it's a response to the understandable jitters I see some of them dealing with - leave your job/family/country, go halfway around the world to a place where you don't know anybody, don't speak the language; where the culture, and even just the alphabet, are totally different. I don't know if I could do it! Or if I would want to. So I can't help feeling a little protective sometimes.
Also, without getting carried away, I try consciously to foster a bit of that attitude - to make my classroom feel comfortable, to encourage them - and, if I'm honest, so they'll like me and not complain to the administration if I'm having an off day. (Sounds a bit mercenary, I know, but it's good office politics; and since it also helps them, and helps me keep perspective on their situation, I feel no guilt about it whatsoever.)
Anyway, the point of that rambling: I have a couple of brand-new, still-jet-lagged, very young, very very nervous Japanese women in one of my classes. As they were leaving the other day, I was reassuring them about a pending test, which was making them quite nervous.
Another student overheard, and commented on my maternal penchant in his imperfect (but very enthusiastic) English:
"You are the mother of the Asian people!"
(I don't have that much grey hair yet, do I?)