Q: Can you guys tell when a student has a crush on you? And what, if anything, do you do about it?
A: Teachers can absolutely tell when students have crushes on them. I know I can. I can take any number of approaches when I know a student has a crush on me, but it all depends on the type of student I’m dealing with and how overt their displays of affection may be.
The entire idea of students having crushes on teachers is an entirely uncomfortable subject since there has been tons of news coverage over the last decade about teachers doing inappropriate things with students. Now, I understand that sometimes teachers and students are really close in age and on some extremely rare occasions they fall in love and get married. For me, that concept is completely unfathomable. Let me explain.
I see my students as young adults trying to make their way through one of the most difficult periods of time in their lives. High school is so stressful for so many reasons. Teenagers are falling in love, getting their hearts broken, dealing with family problems, trying to fit in, participating in a zillion activities, plus all of the test-taking and application-writing. And the questions they face!: Where am I going to work? How am I going to make money? Where am I going to college? What am I going to do with my life?
With all of these problems and pressures you're required to face, teachers really need to be there to help guide you guys. It is our job to prepare you for the world after high school, for life. Any decent teacher understands how enormous a task this is, which is why teachers don’t see students as even remote romantic possibilities. We aren’t quite your parents, but I contend that we see our students more than the average parent does on a daily basis. Teachers support their students academically and, at times, emotionally. We are trying to help you grow! We take our jobs very seriously. I like to think of myself as a trainer or a coach, helping my kids reach their fullest potential.
So when I know a student has a crush on me, I try my absolute best to ignore it and take it as a compliment. I have to make sure to keep my distance from the student, however, because any implied inappropriate exchange could get me in serious trouble. If I feel a student is being too affectionate, I need to contact my principal and the student’s parents to discuss the matter. I’ve never had to do this, but I would if I felt a student’s crush on me would jeopardize my career. If any of you out there are reading this and pining over a teacher, I hate to break it to you, but you’re on your way to Heartbreak Hotel. Teachers are off-limits—it's just best for everyone that way.
Miss Dame is the 10th grade English teacher and National Honor Society advisor in the Bronx, NY.
Have you ever had a crush on a teacher?
Related post: Ask a Teacher: Do Teachers Ever Crush on Students?
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