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How can I get with my teacher?

I’m not giving up on this crush! 

The best advice I can give you is to wait for these feelings to pass, says our elder. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for heartbreak.

 

Dear EWC

I have been wondering how I should approach the man I like; I am a teenager but have a crush on a teacher I have at school. He is in his 20s. I fell for him ever since the day I first walked past him. I hardly have him for classes, but I do have him for my sport classes. He’s a new teacher at my school so of course he isn’t so talkative or lively like other teachers besides when telling a student of. He is actually very quiet besides when telling a student to do sports to be honest. I want to know how I can start off by getting with him, like how I can get to know him without seeming weird. No, I won’t give up on this crush. I prefer to ask out a teacher than ask out some from my grade who think they are hot. I think I know what classes this teacher teaches, mostly sports and math, or substitute for math and PE. I’m not the ‘pretty’ standard, but looks aren’t everything, I just don’t know what to do to get to know him more so I don’t confess and make things awkward. I already tried reaching out for advice to other love coach professionals but they just ignore me and tell me to forget it. I beg that someone could give me advice and not tell me to find another guy.

 

Willow replies

My name is Elder Willow and I’m a female volunteer with the Elder Wisdom Circle. I’ve read your letter several times and can really relate to it; that’s why I chose it to answer. Since we don’t know each other, I have only what you’ve written to go on, so I’ll do my best to respond based on the information you’ve provided.

Before we start chatting, though, let me say that when any of us ask someone else for advice we can’t dictate what their response can and cannot be. We can’t say that we want honest advice and also say that there are certain options we don’t want to hear. Another person’s opinion is just that, with no options eliminated. That means all viewpoints are on the table, and I’ll be glad to share mine with you honestly. With that said, let’s talk about your letter.

You don’t need me to tell you that it’s very common for students to develop feelings for teachers in their school. You are not alone in feeling the way you do. Since girls mature sooner than boys it’s also normal for you to be attracted to guys who are older than you. During the teen years, boys the same age can seem like such children. I get that. It’s hard to imagine actually dating one of them!  It’s normal to turn your attention to guys who are more mature. As a teenage young woman, you are going through many changes, both physical and emotional, and teacher crushes are a common part of that process. I can speak from experience, as I remember having huge crushes on two of my teachers, one in middle school and one in high school. Looking back on that time, I wonder what I ever saw in either of them and suspect you will feel the same way in a year or two. I can tell you that those feelings you’re having are typical and will eventually pass. At the time, I remember feeling relieved that I’d kept those feelings to myself instead of trying to act on them. The awkwardness and embarrassment would have been awful. If others had found out, I suspect it would have felt even worse.

You spend many hours a day in the same building with your school’s teachers, so it’s natural to notice them. Although you only have sports with this teacher, you’ve noticed things about him that attract you. Perhaps it’s his looks, or maybe he’s kind, responsive and attentive to the students in his care. It’s easy to see how crushes can develop. But being professional, treating students with care, managing a classroom (or a gym) and reaching each student in his care is his job. He is an authority figure in this situation, and it’s important to remember that his interactions with all students (who are likely underage) must remain professional at all times.

It might help to keep in mind that you don’t actually know this teacher. He might be married or in a committed relationship and therefore unavailable. You only know the persona he presents in your school, which is his workplace. Since you don’t really know him, it’s important to remember that you’re attracted to your idea of him, the “him” you’ve created in your mind. The “him” you carry around with you is likely not the “real him” at all. Our imaginations fill in the things we don’t know about a person and it’s easy to see how our minds can work overtime to attribute all kinds of wonderful and positive traits to somebody that we barely know. We are all human and all have faults, but in your mind, you don’t see any negative things. You may feel you can’t find anyone else who measures up because your imagination has built this teacher up to a point that nobody else can compete. The best thing you can do is release that fantasy, understand it for what it is, and give the real people around you a chance.

Here in the US where Elder Wisdom Circle is based, there are very strict codes of conduct that govern the interactions between students and their teachers, especially minors. A quick Google search tells me that Australia has rules that can be even more strict. From what I can see, relationships between teachers and students are forbidden for at least two years after a student graduates. Teacher’s risk losing their license to teach. You can read more about that here:  https://www.qtu.asn.au/journal/queensland-teachers-journal-2021/queensland-teachers-journal-march-2021/legal-student-teacher-relationship-how-close-too-close  This article cites Queensland but there appear to be similar rules nationwide.

No matter the location in Australia, the possible consequences for a teacher who becomes involved with a student can be life-changing. Not only do they risk their job, but they face possible loss of marriage/relationship, family and friends. Here in the US, teachers also risk jail time and lifetime registration as a sex offender if they are involved with someone underage. Perhaps Australia is the same. Either way it’s highly unlikely that your teacher would put himself in this position (with you or any other student) and risk his career. I’m sure that if you care about him, you would not want to put him in that position, either. It isn’t personal and has nothing to do with how attractive or available you make yourself. It’s just the circumstances. The unbalanced power differential between a teacher and student, and the consequences of getting too close, make a romantic relationship of any kind with a student something most teachers would avoid. It’s OK to nurture your crush privately as long as you keep it in perspective. But acting on it by approaching this teacher would be setting yourself up for heartbreak. 

The best advice I can give you is to surround yourself with school, extracurricular activities and friends your own age or just a bit older, and let this phase pass. I promise you it will. When you find yourself thinking about him, distract yourself with something you enjoy. As most other people before you have done, you will find suitable, age-appropriate partners as you mature and change. 

Sometimes asking for advice doesn’t give us the answer we want to hear, but it gives us the answer we need to hear. Although I know it’s not what you want to accept, I agree with everyone who has advised you to leave this teacher alone and focus your attention elsewhere. You may not agree but I hope you will find my perspective helpful. I hope it gives you something to think about and helps you view this teacher as a wonderful resource and coach, but also as an unavailable adult who is simply doing his job. 

Article #: 480158

Category: Dating/Relationship

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