I am sure I have written about this before but reading through some of the posts in the recent 4ThoughtsorFiction posts I came across some stories that are genuinely shocking. In particular one shared by Jenna at Rasperry Ripples. In her post she shares a recollection about a male teacher who made sexual remarks about her body during her time at high school.
As a teacher I was genuinely appalled at his behaviour. While the rules about professional conduct vary slightly from country to country I don’t believe at any time or in any place a teacher making sexual advances or even engaging in innuendos with a student has been acceptable, AT ALL, EVER.
There is a slight grey area here. In the situation I am talking about; the student was a female and the teacher was a male. This kind of situation is very much taboo but the reverse seems to carry less offense. This probably ties back to the general idea that we seem to have that men have more power than women. Even when they are significantly younger.
But it is no less offensive. The problem when a teacher makes an advance on a student is not the gender but the age of the student. It is about the power imbalance. A young inexperienced person, even if they are legally above the age of consent cannot give fully informed consent to someone who has been in a position of power over them. Hence even if an 18 year old student tried to hook up with a teacher or vice versa the situation is not seen as consensual on the part of the student.
Many times when I am talking to men who would like to be a sexual partner and I reveal my profession they reply with; “I wish I had a teacher like you.” Of course they probably did have a mid 40’s, slightly overweight maths teacher who liked to stick to the rules and dressed like a teacher. I certainly don’t look like the fantasy girl when I am at work. The fantasy these men are tapping in to is the fantasy that an unattainable person suddenly and unexpectedly becomes sexually available to them.
I am sexually available. To the right people. Those people don’t include; my students, other teachers I work with (despite some being of passing interest to me) and men who want to teacher role play. I have been known to tell men who are getting a bit out of hand “Don’t make me get the teacher voice out!” Sometimes this causes a bit of hilarity, but generally when the teacher voice happens in a sexually open environment I get what I want. Sometimes because obedience to that kind of voice is ingrained in us and sometimes because it touches a chord in a man’s sexual fantasy realm and he wants more. Either way it is not going to result in me donning a pair of thick rimmed glasses and engaging in a full classroom role play.
I would not say that I have not been on the receiving end of some “attention” from male students. But never anything serious. Most of it is very, very inexperienced young men awkwardly trying to come to terms with unfamiliar stuff happening in their bodies. A woman with few scruples could easily take advantage of the situation if she was so inclined. And when she was exposed it would be the end of her career as well as a bunch of negative publicity.
Consequently for me the teacher thing is off limits. I may make the occasional joke but as I said I am not interested in a teacher role play situation and I am DEFINITELY not interested in any after hours stuff in an actual classroom. Don’t laugh I was actually asked if that was a possibility once.
I don’t talk to that man any more.
Of course there are always stories about teachers hooking up with ex students or teachers that start relationships with students and keep it on the down low until they are of age. I am certain things like that happen but they are VERY rare and the participants are VERY close mouthed about it. I am not here to judge and every case is slightly different. The thing to remember is that some teachers are quite young when they start out. My daughter literally has her ex school captain as one of her teachers in the last year of her schooling. He is actually friends with my son. In the right situation they could end up dating. As a parent I would not be against that situation.
I guess the fallout from all of this is that we have a fascination with the power play and taboo nature of teacher – student interaction. For the most part this interaction has no place in real life. Teachers who take advantage of the power their position affords them are low lifes who should not be teachers. But as always there are exceptions.