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I came across an example like this:

頼り無さげに 見られるぶん;生徒達に慕って もらえるのは 素直に嬉しい
tayorinasage ni mirareru bun; seitotachi ni shitatte moraeru no wa sunao ni ureshii

After searching several grammar dictionaries, I haven't seen a single example of ぶん used like this, nor of げ used after a さ nominalization of of an i-adj. Eventually, with the help of a native Japanese-speaker, I parsed this sentence like this:

"The degree to which I am seen as appearing unreliable, as for being able to get my students to look up to me, I am truly happy."

I've interpreted it as the teacher explaining that she'd rather be admired than respected. For a more natural translation:

"As much as they might see me as unreliable, my students' affection is what truly makes me happy."

This seems like an odd usage of ぶん, I'd expect either ほど or くらい in this position. The closest example on this site I've found is: The meaning of “ぶん” in “見ているぶんには…”, but this deals with a post-verb ぶん only in a specific context. Is this use of ぶん common?

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According to 明鏡国語辞典:

ぶん【分】...
(語法) 「・・・分(だけ)、・・・」の形で、その程度に応じて他の事柄の程度も進む意を表す。「期待していなかった、余計にうれしかった」「スピードを上げた分だけ疲れが出た。」

In the format of "~~分(だけ)、~~", it indicates that the degree of something becomes greater in accordance with the higher degree of something else. 「期待していなかった、余計にうれしかった」 "I felt all the happier because I wasn't expecting that." 「スピードを上げた分だけ疲れが出た。」 "I got all the more exhausted because I increased my speed."

So I think the ぶん in your example means "All the more for/because..."

頼り無さげに見られるぶん、生徒達に慕ってもらえるのは素直に嬉しい。

"Frankly / Naturally I feel all the happier that my students adore / look up to / count on me because I am (usually/often) seen unreliable."

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  • Is this use of ぶん common? Yes. At least I don't think it's a rare usage. – Chocolate Jul 15 '16 at 16:26
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    Thank you. This does seem a little similar to the "~ば~ほど" grammar for describing the increasing degree of one thing in comparison to the degree of another, except more compact. Which makes sense, considering the similar meanings of "分" and "ほど". – sky Jul 15 '16 at 22:20
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頼り無さげに見られるぶん、生徒達に慕ってもらえるのは素直に嬉しい is different from ほど or くらい versions in the point that it means "To be honest, I'm glad that my students get along with me exactly because they might see me as unreliable".

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I hear this in daily speech from time to time. Not every day, but often enough to be familiar with it.

This usage seems to fit with the 4th definition of「分」found here:

物事の様子・状態。また,程度くらい。 「この-なら大丈夫だ」

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