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Student Has Crush on Teacher

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: I'm in ninth grade and I like my teacher who is 26. I mean I really like him. I think about him all the time and I can see myself with him in the future. The problem is that I'm only 16. I really like him but I don't think he likes me back. What can I do?

A: Having a crush on a teacher is very common in middle school and high school. Even elementary school children may develop serious crushes on their teachers. I am sure that you could tell me in great detail why you "really like" this teacher. I would guess that he is attractive to you in many ways and that he has treated you with respect and kindness.

I bet that this man likes being your teacher. But 26-year-old teachers do not look for girlfriends or boyfriends among their students. They are forbidden by the school and by the law to engage in anything beyond a friendly teacher/student relationship. It's probably hard for you to think he likes you only in this limited non-romantic way but you will have to learn to accept the boundaries that must exist between students and teachers.

I am not telling you that your fantasizing about him is wrong. I am suggesting, however, that you accept the fact that the relationship you may dream about with him can exist only in your fantasies. Sometimes we develop crushes and fantasize about people we know we can never have a real-life relationship with - it's safer than going after a real-life relationship and being rejected.

You might learn some important things about yourself from your crush on this teacher. By identifying the things that you admire in this teacher, you'll see what qualities are important to you when you have opportunities to have romantic relationships with your peers. Please don't expect the boys your age to match up with this teacher in terms of their appeal or their maturity. I would be concerned about your infatuation if your thoughts and fantasies about this man dominate most of your thoughts and you find yourself unable or unwilling to lead a normal 16 year-old's social life.

I know that your feelings are real and intense. I hope that my advice has helped you understand how to put them in perspective. Thanks for writing.

More on: Expert Advice

Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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