Students and their Bonds with TeachersI really needed to vent my frustration at the depressive emotions that have arisen due to the personal bond I have grown with specific teachers. I'm not sure...

Students and their Bonds with Teachers

I really needed to vent my frustration at the depressive emotions that have arisen due to the personal bond I have grown with specific teachers.

I'm not sure if I'm just a rare form of student (or person in general, for that matter) that feels a stronger connection with people older than me (teachers in this case).  I have always felt closer to my teachers than a lot of people, and feel the need to bring light to that appreciation I feel for their guidance through letters and words.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with one of my teacher's that left the school for the year.  He/She is helping me out with personal teachings beyond those skills taught in the class room on her own time every week.

This teacher in specific, I feel so strong about.  I've never felt such a close bond to somebody.  He/She helps me with things (such as those that pertain to what I want to do in my life) that so many others wouldn't bother to.  And I am so grateful for that, but yet, I feel depressed because I don't want to put into perspective that this person may be out of my life.  Or the simple fact that he/she is just a teacher in High School affects me personally.  I'm having difficulty coping with the emotions that have built up because of it.

Do you teachers realize that you may have students, like myself, that feel such a strong connection to you (a friendly connection). Do you think the same way students (like me) do?


Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I have to admit that this is one of the things which frighten teachers. There is such a fine line between what is appropriate and what is not appropriate that many teachers tend to flee towards the side which no one can assume is wrong.

That being said, from how it sounds to me, is that you are having these feelings because someone took an interest in your well-being. If this is the case, the emotions you are having are normal. Unfortunately, these feelings have a cost--either to the teacher or the student. The student may take things too far, admitting their feelings, and be shut down by the teacher. This would force the student to, again, feel as though no one cares. On the other hand, the teacher may begin to feel as if the student has feelings for them and begin to change their behavior toward the student (which either makes the student try harder out of fear or embarrass the student because the teacher misread their own feelings about what was/is going on).

Regardless, I think that you need to evaluate your own feelings. If you are having romantic thoughts about the teacher, and you do care about them as a person, you need to back off. You could be putting the teacher's career at stake. On the other hand, if you are simply in the "relationship" because they are concerned for your well-being, and you understand that, it would seem to be healthy.

Please remember that this is a very sensitive subject for both sides and that I am simply offering my opinion as an educator and not a psychologist/psychiatrist.

pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would agree with #9 that this discussion is a fine demonstration of how easily people can misinterpret the relationship between a student and a teacher, seeing a romantic overtone where there is none. I also have enjoyed reconnecting with past students on facebook, and I see no reason for you to be sad that you will move on with your life. I am sure that your teacher wishes you success, or else she would not be taking an interest in helping you. The best way for you to honor your teacher's efforts is to get a good education and go out into the world and be successful.

As others have suggested, you would be wise to meet in public and keep things on a more formal level; to do otherwise could cause a lot of harm to your teacher's professional reputation. After you have graduated, there is nothing to stop you from sending your teacher a card or letter from time to time, or stopping in to say hello. Just this past week I had a former student, now a college senior, stop in to visit me at school. She even offered to come back next week and make a presentation to one of my classes, which I am looking forward to.

I wonder if you are, perhaps, feeling depressed and overwhelmed because you will are afraid of whatever lies after high school? If that is the case, you are far from alone. You are young, and it will be all right. Try to focus on the present and on the positive.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is a dismal fact that developing relationships nowadays precludes many conditions.  Sometimes there is a stronger emotional need because of other factors such as the loss of a parent through separation of some kind; sometimes teachers have lost their own children to college or adulthood. In these cases, there is a comfort that comes to student and teacher as another person of a similar age seems to help fill the gap created by the loss.  Then, sometimes personalities just relate.  So, if people are aware of the causes for their attachment to a teacher, or to a student, they can better deal with situations that arise. 

In Dead Poet's Society, the boys became very attached to their teacher whom they greatly respected, but nowadays inquiries would be made.  So, keep things in mind as you conduct yourself in such a way as to not arouse suspicion from administrators or others.

stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Most teachers enter the field of education because they want to help students grow and learn and find themselves and fulfillment in their future. As part of that process, most teachers are eager to build relationships and provide assistance to receptive pupils who are eager to benefit from mentoring.

However, teachers have to protect themselves from anything that might be seen as being an inappropriate relationship with a student. When a teacher spends too much time outside the classroom with one specific student, that starts to become risky for the teacher. When a student becomes so dependent that s/he can't function without the constant support of one specific teacher, that contradicts the goal of the teacher's efforts.

While your attachment to this teacher may be perfectly innocent, it is not healthy for either you or the teacher.

mizzwillie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you remove the idea of the person being your teacher, what I see you lamenting is the idea of people moving in and out of your life even when they are important to you.   One of the hardest parts of becoming more adult is that you have to accept the idea that nothing is constant except change.  I, too, have had the same experience of some people moving in and out of my life, and I am in my early 60's.  Please know that I have been open to the idea of new people in my life, and they have somehow appeared when I needed them.  As  you move forward from this mentor, look around at the people you know who can help you and provide some of what this mentor did.  Maybe you will have to find two people who each provide half of what you need.  Don't give up; people will be there if you look and accept the differences.

dmcgillem eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the above posts, and I would only like to add that if you continue to meet with this teachers, you need to do a few things to protect not only yourself, but also this teacher.

1) Make sure that your parents are aware of this friendly, mentoring relationship (if in fact that's what it is...).

2) Limit the amount of correspondence by phone, email, letters, or messaging (text or Facebook) to only what's necessary to arrange the meetings.

3) Only meet in public places, and provide your own transportation.

Even if the relationship that you and this teacher have is completely healthy (I can't presume to know), many teaches have had their careers ended because someone or something has cast the suspicion of inappropriate conduct their way.

litlady33 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the most important thing is to realize that your teacher's relationship with you is and has to be professional. That doesn't mean a teacher can't be a mentor and someone you look up to personally. A good teacher can stay professional while helping students in aspects of life beyond the classroom, i.e. college decisions, character issues, etc. I think it's perfectly okay to have sadness about the thought of not having a teacher in your life if that person has greatly influenced you. It's okay to let that person know how important he/she is to you and the impact they have had on your life, as long as you are aware that professionalism is the utmost important thing to uphold in your relationship.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is very rewarding for teachers to feel as if they have made a difference in the life of a young person, and many teachers develop a close relationship with students in which the teacher becomes something of a mentor rather than simply an instructor. While this is laudable, teachers must exercise an abundance of caution and not allow the relationship to become to personal or emotional. Teachers suspected in inappropriate relationships with students often find themselves in serious professional difficulty. For that reason, you should respect the fact that your teacher may be a mentor but cannot be more than that. The teacher can be your friend, but not your "buddy," or soul mate. Good luck.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This doesn't (in my opinion) sound very healthy.  I notice that you are trying not to tell whether the teacher is male or female, but at one point you say "her."  If this is not a romantic feeling that you have, why try to conceal the sex of the teacher?

Anyway, it's perfectly normal to like one or more of your teachers.  It's even normal to have crushes on one or more teachers.  But it sounds to me like you're taking it too far.  I don't think it's good for you to have so much of your emotions wrapped up in a person who is so much older than you.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'm proud to say that I have more than 300 of my former students who are Facebook friends. I occasionally meet with them socially, always in a group and usually with my wife and their spouses. Your relationship with your teacher doesn't have to end completely, but teachers must distance themselves somewhat from students these days. Even though you claim that your relationship is purely friendly and in no way sexual, you can see for yourself from the other posts how people can assume the worst.

garimaa | Student

I'm suffering from the same frustration and I can understand your feelings very well. I've also posted something kindly also read and reply for that I'm waiting. I posted because I thought this is the best way to get out of this frustration. 

bhavana6 | Student

according to me the relationship between a teacher and a student is always healthy if they hada respectful mind towards each other.

wanderista | Student

I assume there is a massive age difference. It's fine to socialise with any person who know, teacher or not in my opinion. But I agree with the posts above. Keep it limited to only a 'friendship'. Limit the amount of correspondance, and try not to befriend them on Facebook/Twitter etc.

But ultimately, it comes down to you. Are you comfortable with what you are doing? Are you parents comfortable? If so, then do what you think is best.

demonic790 | Student
I had originally intended to conceal the sex of the teacher because, for some reason, it came to me that it could have perhaps unveiled at least some of the information about the person, which was not the purpose of the post. In regards to emotional feelings towards the teacher, it is in no way related to any crush or loving feelings. As said, I am simply feeling sad because of this persons personal help towards my (possible) future occupation. Looking to this peraon as a mentor, of course I would feel concerned about haviing to leave them. I appreciate the input.