Dear Dish-It: I'm Crushing On My Teacher
I have a mega-crush on my history teacher. I'm 14 and he's 26. I know nothing can happen between us. I think he kinda likes me – as a student, of course. I work hard in his lessons and do my best at the homework. I really, really like him, but I bet he won't ever find me even the slightest bit attractive. I wear a headscarf, you see, and girls like me… well, we're not really thought to be that… attractive. I can't ever admit I like him, because I'm afraid my friends will turn on me and it will change what my classmates think of me. Still, I always try to think of some sort of excuse to talk to him, but I don't overdo it. He’s taking my geography class on a four-day trip next year; I'm desperate to go but my parents won’t let me, no matter how much I ask them. I'm really confused, and don't know what to do! I go to a girls' school and I'm not allowed to talk to boys, so I can't "crush on boys my own age…" Any advice?
Sometimes I try to answer the questions I get from kids like you by going back to similar experiences I had when I was younger and trying to remember how I got through them. Unfortunately, sometimes there was no “answer,” and I got through those situations simply with the passing of time.
I remember having a HUGE crush on my camp counselor when I was about your age. It felt so great to be around him and to have him pay attention to me but, at the same time, it felt terrible because I knew the situation could never turn out the way I wanted it to in my daydreams. The age difference between us was just too big and it would have been extremely inappropriate for anything to happen considering the fact he was an adult in charge of kids, including me.
So I’m glad to see that in your letter you acknowledge the fact that nothing can ever transpire from this situation and your feelings for your teacher. And you know what? It has NOTHING to do with who you are or how you look or whether you wear a headscarf or not. TRUST ME. The ONLY reason nothing can happen is the fact that it would be extremely inappropriate for someone in a position of authority (like your teacher) to interact romantically with one of his students. It’s also inappropriate and ILLEGAL for someone over the age of 18 to have any sort of intimate contact or a romantic relationship with a girl who is under 18. He could get in BIG trouble for crossing this line.
The more you can come to terms with the fact that your relationship with your teacher must remain strictly professional – that is, a normal, appropriate student-teacher relationship – and nothing more, the more your feelings for him may fade. And, like I said of my own, similar experience with a camp counselor, time will pass and you will forget this feelings and move on to feel similarly about someone more appropriate who is closer to you in age. I promise.
It sounds like you’re worried that, because you don’t have anything else to distract you in terms of relationships and boys, you won’t be able to get your mind off your teacher. Well, there are several things you can do to help with that. I understand you go to an all-girls’ school, so there are no boys to interact with there. But is it possible to join an after-school and out-of-school group of some sort, something that interests you, where you could interact with some boys closer to your own age? Is there a sports team you can join? An art class? Photography lessons? A religious youth group of some sort?
You didn’t mention whether you and your family are very religious, and whether or not this is the reason you go to an all-girls’ school, wear a headscarf and are not allowed to go on overnight trips with your school. However, if this is the case, then I think what you need to do is continue to follow your religion and beliefs and respect your parents’ wishes. It sounds like you’re a good student and a very smart girl. If you continue doing your best in everything you do, including being a wonderful daughter, then I promise good things will come to you and life will bring you loads and loads of happiness and joy, including the joy of love when you are a bit older and more independent. For now, I’m afraid that going against your parents wishes will only cause you more pain and trouble. But with the passage of time comes change – all you need to do is continue doing your best, be patient and keep your hope and faith alive that someday all your dreams will come true.
Finally, I want you to stop being so hard on yourself. Having a crush on someone you admire, like your teacher, is a perfectly natural part of growing up – we ALL go through it. And wearing a headscarf doesn’t make you unattractive or un-anything for that matter. It’s a part of who you are and a part of your belief system (I think), and that makes it a perfectly acceptable and attractive part of who YOU are as a person. Just believe in yourself and you’ll see all the amazing things that unfold in your life.
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