Teachers: when they suck they’re awful. But when they’re good… and happen to be kind of good-looking… they’re pretty freakin’ crush-worthy. And when a crush-worthy teacher lets you friend them on Instagram or something, that’s when things get weird.
Since the dawn of time, authority figures have been irresistible crush material, and there have always been problems with people abusing that dynamic. Teachers have gotten overly involved — like as in sexually, or even just bro-ing down a little too hard — with students throughout the ages. But now that everyone’s on social media, there seems to be an uptick in these boundary crossings. For instance, in Tennessee, journalists reviewed the records and found that the numbers of disciplinary actions for teachers just keep increasing over the past decade, and that almost all of the stuff they’re getting in trouble for is violating boundaries (as in, not just being a bad teacher).
Just to get this out of the way:
Even if your teacher is only a few years older than you, and seems like someone you could totally be friends (or more) with if they weren’t your teacher, the facts of how you guys know each other make that relationship messed up. They have an authority over you that is way too easy for them to abuse, sometimes without even realizing they’re doing it. Maybe after you’re a fully launched adult and things can be a little more fair in terms of how much power one of you has over the other, you guys can hang out more socially. But until then, a teacher who seeks to hang out socially or sexually with you while you’re still their student officially has problems. In fact, by the time you are a fully launched adult, you’ll probably start to look at them as having been pretty creepy, even if they seem irresistible now.
Here’s your crib sheet for figuring out if your teacher is a creep:
- Tells you about a great, appropriate book that’s not on the reading list.
- Runs into you at a concert and gives you a high five — and preferably they’re there with their own friends, because they have friends their own age.
- Tells you they think your new haircut is cool.
Definitely Weird and Not OK:
- Friends you on social media or accepts your friend requests (unless your school policy officially allows it and your teacher follows the guidelines they’ve set up).
- Tells you secrets, wants to hear your secrets.
- Likes your selfie on Instagram.
- Comments on your appearance in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Meets with you one-on-one behind closed doors, or tries to.
Oh, Hell No:
- Private messages, calls, or texts you with romantic or sexual thoughts — or says them to your face.
- Touches you in any way that they would never do if your parents were watching.
Honestly, if anything any of your teachers is doing falls into the bottom two categories, you should be telling someone: a parent, another teacher, your principal. Even if you really have a crush on the teacher and feel like you wanted the attention from them: that’s not your job to hold that boundary, it’s your job to learn about that boundary. Like you’re doing right now. They’re an adult and a professional; they know better. So you are doing them and yourself and your school a favor to call them out on it.
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