I Have a Crush On My Teacher

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Reader’s Question

I am a 21-year-old male studying for a bachelor of engineering, and I have a crush on my 25-year-old female teacher. I had never met her before I joined my college. I am a pioneer student and top of my batch. I am considered the best, and most active, bold, confident, good-looking and popular student of my batch. This is probably because I am involved in leadership and in public speaking. All of my teachers treat me well and they love me too. Even before I topped, before the results came, and before people started to know me as a pioneer student, this teacher used to be very nice to me and always smiled at me whenever our eyes met (she had no classes with us at that time). She gradually started to talk to me and was getting frank with me. I never noticed this until she had to take an oral test with me, and something made me realize that she did not consider me as a normal student. She is always the happiest whenever I achieve something.

I started having feelings for her, and even felt guilty for several days for thinking anything like that. I finally realized that I have a crush on her. I admire her a lot. She has a very good personality; she is calm and quiet; she is shy and even looks nervous, feared or stressed most of the time (which makes me feel sad).

Now the problem is that I can’t decide whether she is really in love with me or not. I do not get to interact with her much. My behavior and my conversations have let her know that I am in love with her, but all I want to know is, what is her feeling for me? What would her reaction be if I propose to her? Is it normal or not?

Psychologist’s Reply

Congratulations on your achievements so far in your class. It seems as if you are a natural student and leader, and it makes sense that you are noticed by teachers and students alike.

It sounds as if you have developed strong feelings for your teacher. You are wondering if she feels the same. Given that you are both adults, it would not be abnormal for you and her to meet, have feelings, and develop a relationship, if you had met under other circumstances. It is the fact that you are a student and she is a teacher that gives you pause. And for good reason!

In the Western culture, there is somewhat of a taboo around teachers and students dating, even when the two individuals are adults. The reason for this is that there is a power differential between students and teachers built in to their roles and relationship with each other. Teachers are hired to teach and evaluate. Students’ jobs are to learn and be evaluated. Any time one person has the power to evaluate, promote, or affect another’s progress, he or she has the position of power. So, if you and this woman had met outside of a school setting, you might have found that you are well matched in terms of intellect, values, and feelings. However, the roles that you are in (teacher and student) are important ones to consider. The worst-case scenario is that if you were to enter into a romantic relationship with each other, her objectivity with regard to evaluating you as a student would most likely be compromised. This could negatively affect you or other students, depending on what happened. Another problem is that at times, the teacher-student relationship itself can create feelings, as mutual admiration and respect can grow as you teach and learn from each other. It is difficult to predict whether you would have these same feelings for her if you were to know each other outside of these roles.

I do hear from your post that you have feelings and are poised for action. If these feelings remain and develop beyond a crush as time goes on (or beyond the school setting), you might find that the fear of a negative reaction from her becomes less important than the desire to take the risk. If that is the case, it might be wise to seek counsel before revealing your feelings to her or proposing. I do not know what is customary in your culture with regard to romantic relationships or choosing to marry. I wonder where you could turn for some guidance regarding how to move forward. I suppose one thing to check is whether there are any policies in your university that would dictate how to proceed. Another idea is to consult a wise or trusted person in the community about how best to proceed.

So to answer your question: Yes, it is normal to have a crush on a teacher. It might even be common for a teacher to have extremely positive feelings for a student, that can develop into more. The choices about whether to pursue that relationship outside of the school setting depend on whether the feelings remain over time. Also, the decision to propose is one that is made within a multi-layered context, including the policies of the school, the implicit guidelines of the community in which you live, and the traditions of your culture regarding relationships and marriage.

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