18 November 2007

I am attracted to my teacher who has an history of getting involved with his students...

I am attracted to my teacher, and he might be attracted to me. These are the reasons why this has crossed my mind several times. For example, when I asked my close friend Joe if he wanted me to kiss his hand because he had hurt it, my teacher overheard and said « Were you being suggestive there Millie?’ I answered « No, sir.» but then he said « Were you being naughty? » and looked me up and down. The way he said it and the way he looked at me was just not right. He also touched my hand. He is an ICT teacher and once, he put his hand over mine in class to move my mouse. It made me feel weird, the way his hand was on mine. And I found out that some time ago, he was suspended for texting my friend’s sister and planning to meet her outside of school hours. Therefore he has a history of getting involved with his students. The absolute worst part about this whole thing is that I am very much attracted to him. But I know what is right and wrong. I know it doesn’t feel right but I need someone to tell me if I am overreacting. I really like him!

Équipe -Pose ta question!-

Hi Millie,

Thank you for your question. I realize you are in a very complicated and delicate position. First of all, I should inform you about the legal aspects of the situation. You mentioned that your teacher has been suspended for trying to see one of his students outside of school. This is due to the legal age of consent for a sexual relationship. Even though you are over 14 (which is the legal age in Canada to consent for a sexual relationship), it is still considered an offence for an adult to have any such contact with boys and girls over 14 but under 18, where a relationship of trust or authority exists between the adult and child. Therefore, because of your teacher-student relationship –giving him a certain ‘power’ and authority over you- and because you are still under 18, it is considered illegal for him to pursue any kind of sexual contact with you, including invitations to touch/fondle him or other seductive behavior intended to lead to sexual intercourse. I think it is important for you to know this before deciding on the status of your relationship, making it possible to make an informed decision.

Although it is hard for me to assess your teacher’s true intentions, it is very possible he is trying to seduce you. Emotions can be unreliable, but the fact that there were many instances where you felt uncomfortable in his presence or because of his actions is a good indication that something is going on. Finally, he also has a history of seductive behavior with another student and this heightens the probability that this same process is going on with you.

However, independently of whether your teacher is interested or not, the most important aspect of this situation is your own feelings and the choices you want to make for yourself. For example, you wrote about this relationship that: ‘It doesn’t feel right’. You may want to wonder about why you are feeling this way. Indeed, a healthy, nurturing relationship usually makes you feel good about yourself. If you have doubts, questions, or overwhelming fears, it may help to reflect on what is wrong with that relationship. It might also be useful for you to question your teacher’s real motivations to act this way with you. What does he want? What does he feel? However, the decision should always remain about yourself and not about what someone else might want from you. Most importantly, if you decide to respond to his seductive behavior, are you able to accept the psychological and legal consequences of this? How would you feel in a relationship with such a discrepancy in age and authority?

Finally, because this is a very complex and distressful situation for you, it could be a a good idea to share your feelings and thoughts with someone you can trust. Is there anyone in your family (mother, father, older sister or brother) or at your school (social worker, psychologist, director, other teacher) you would feel comfortable discussing this with? Although there might be consequences for your teacher subsequently to this discussion, this should in no way prevent you from disclosing how you feel. As a student and as an individual, you have the right to feel at ease in a school setting, and shouldn’t be exposed to ambiguous, seductive behavior on the part of your teachers.

I hope this has helped clarify the choices available to you… If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us again!

Karine Anctil, for AlterHéros