Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Age difference:
“I really like my teacher!”

Hey Terra,

I'm 18 and a senior at the local H.S. and I plan on joining the military soon. I have never expressed my feelings to anybody such as a doctor, counselor, etc., so this is my first time talking with anybody other than my family... I was raised by a strict family and I grew up more mature than any child. Still to this day I am mature for my age. The other thing is that I also look older than I do. I guess that it's just the way that I dress, wear make-up, talk, and present myself. Over the years, I have dated several guys, several good looking men, I guess I should say. Mostly the guys I have dated are in the military. usually between the ages of 18-24. My family has no problem with it.

About 6 months ago I had taken a class at school, when the semester started. I didn't like the class but I had to take it since there were no other classes available. At one time I hated my teacher. I thought he was a real dork and acted childish. Over the months I found out that he wasn't such a bad guy. We had talked and got to know one another. He had told me several times that I was very mature and that I did very well in class. Towards the end of the semester I really started liking the guy. Before I go any further I have to let you know that he is only 24. I had noticed several times he would stare at me and call on me all the time. We would always talk to one another and we had so much in common. He had told me that he had to leave this semester to teach at another school but he was going to return back the following year. I felt hurt b/c I didn't want him to leave, and than I realized that I was not in love with him, but I can't describe the way I felt about him and still to this day I still can't describe the way I feel about him.

Before he left I wrote him a letter sort of describing how I felt about him. he read it and I think that he mistook the letter by thinking that I just wanted to be friends, however he was very excited about being friends. I know that he feels for me and I know that he knows that I feel for him too.

The last day before he left I went up to him and said that "I want to know what's going to happen?" I told him that I gave him my email address and that I wanted to stay in touch w/ him. I gave him my email address with an excuse of me going to be overseas all the time. He acted happy about it and didn't hesitate on giving me his. For a while I didn't email him. I didn't even get to see him. I had thought about him but when the weeks went by I thought about him more. Eventually I sat down and typed up a friendly letter. He replied. I emailed him again, he replied, I emailed him again and he replied!

He had told me that he was going to be at my school for a month or so everyday after school. He told me that I should stop by and that is what I did. He was late one day and when he walked in he didn't see me. I could tell that he was pissed about something. When he saw me he smiled from ear to ear and gave me a hug. He said that he was so happy to see me. I had to leave at that time but we talked for about 10 min. He asked me to come back tomorrow and I did. I went back and he was busy like usual, but when he saw me his face just glowed!!!

I have been trying to tell him that I want to see more of him. Of course I know that he could get in trouble by dating a student but I would want to see him and do things with him out of town. The day I went to see him I wanted to get him alone and tell him that, but people were walking in and out, and I thought that it was a bad time to talk to him.

When I finally had the chance to tell him I blanked out and forgot what I was going to say. I think that I felt that if I did say anything to him it would ruin our friendship and that if there was a possibility that he didn't like me that way I would feel Humiliated, and it would be a turn off for him. I know that he likes me but every time I see him he is always asking me "Are you still joining the military?" Of course I am and there is no way I'm not going in.

At one time he sat down and told me that he dated a girl who was in the military. She had gone overseas and found somebody else and it broke his heart! I felt so bad for him knowing that somebody would do that to this wonderful man! He is sweet, caring, funny, and everything the guys that I have dated weren't. My idea of a guy was always tough, built, good looking, and everything else that my teacher wasn't. I was not attracted to my teacher but the more I got to know him looks didn't matter. He's not ugly or anything, I mean he could date anyone but since she did that to him he still doesn't date and he wasn't somebody that I would date.

I am lost!! I want to tell him that I want to see more of him but how? Should I tell him in person, which would be difficult, should I email him, write to him? I have no idea and I have no idea on what I am going to say to him. If you could help me I would be so grateful. I know that you will probably not respond to this letter, but it has taken me awhile to write this, and like I said, I would be happy for advice, and somebody to tell what I should write!!!!!! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH IF YOU DO RESPOND.

Sassy

Dear Sassy,

Thanks for writing to me. I hope I can say something to help you sort out your feelings here and decide what is the right thing for you to do next.

This is a complicated situation. It has nothing to do with how "mature" you look or act or feel. The core of this situation, as I see it, has to do with whether it is ever appropriate for a teacher to be romantically involved with a student. I have to say that it is NOT appropriate. He is a teacher and you are his student. Even though he is only 6 years older than you are, the fact that he is a teacher puts him in a different category from other 24 year old men you may have gone out with. And yes, you are right, he could get fired if he pursued a relationship with you. (Depending on what kind of emails you two have exchanged, he may already have crossed the line.) I'm not sure if you are thinking about that as you make it so very clear in your behavior toward him that you are interested in him on a personal level. The truth is, he is a professional and no matter how attracted he may be to you and vice versa, as the relationship stands now... teacher and student... It would be wrong for him to treat you as a potential girlfriend.

You are graduating in June, right? After that you will no longer be a student of his and he will no longer be your teacher. If you still have feelings for each other after graduation, then there is nothing inappropriate about your dating at that time.

I know it may be hard to put these kinds of limitations on your relationship until after graduation, but believe me, it will cause big problems if the boundaries are not kept in place while you are still a student.

I hope this helps.

In friendship,

Terra


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.


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