• Resolving Problems

Doomed friendship: A teacher gets too friendly with a parent of a child in her classroom

June 21, 2015 | By | 7 Replies Continue Reading
She worries that the friendship is doomed and wants to keep it amicable.

QUESTION

Hi,

I’m a teacher and a parent seduced me into a very intense friendship where we called each other or texted all day, everyday, and it became flirtatious.

Since I wouldn’t go physical, it feels he has backed off a lot. I text and he has excuses why he couldn’t respond. Is our friendship doomed? Unfortunately I’m due to teach his son for a few more years at least.

How do I keep it amicable? I messed up and I need help keeping it professional.

Signed, Lorna

ANSWER

Hi Lorna,

I’m sure you realize this–but to be clear: It is inappropriate to get involved in a flirtatious relationship with a parent of a child in your class. Such a lapse of judgment can compromise your reputation in the school and in the community, and possibly end up with you losing your job. It can also be upsetting to the student.

The parent may have been the aggressor but you bear responsibility for the intensity of the friendship, too. If nothing else, texting anyone all day every day has to be a huge distraction from your professional responsibilities.

Whether or not this guy is married, this isn’t a friendship that should continue. I’m glad he’s backed off from the relationship. Perhaps, he’s come to his senses and realizes the risks.

The only way to keep it amicable and professional is to limit your communication to school-related matters, and to communicate in the same fashion you would communicate with any other parent. Depending on the size of the school, if there is any way to recuse yourself from teaching this child, that might be an option, too.

I would suggest that you speak to a mental health professional to help you understand the reasons that drew you into such an inappropriate and potentially destructive friendship.

 

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Category: RESOLVING PROBLEMS

Comments (7)

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  1. tanja says:

    i can understand if he started it, then it is hard to know exactly what to do. It may come with practice. When I was young, my first professional job, although it was not a teacher but in the travel and tourism sector. Men flirted with me and honestly, I was in customer service. I honestly did not know how to handle it, so I let the flirting get out of hand. I acted like I really didn’t know what was going on. Meanwhile, some female co workers hated me. I felt uncomfortable, but I did not know how to stop it and I did not want to lose their business either. I guess I had a problem with being assertive and confident. It does have a lot to do with how we were raised. It took me years to understand this and to this day, I am still not that assertive, but if I know a man is flirting with me, I put my head down now and walk away or start talking about how great my husband and kids are and the man backs off right away. I dont smile or flirt as much as I used to. The funny thing is that I did not even know I was doing it. It really was just my smile. Friends have told me that my eyes sparkle when I smile and it may not be something I can help. But, it can be perceived wrong. So, I try to avoid eye contact now and i may come across as distant and hard to approach now. So, I get you. But, now, second chances are a great thing. Learning experience has been noted and now, time for business and not to repeat mistake again. Practice in the mirror, take things as they come and learn and grow with them. You sound like in your 20’s or early 30’s, so by time you are late 30’s, you will have had more practice. Good luck. You can still do your job, no one else has to know, keep it professional. Learn and move on. I know you can do it!

  2. lottie says:

    You are well out of order.Whilst your mind is on physical activities with this man the children are not getting your full attention. Shame on you,especially if their grades take a nose dive.Thank your lucky stars, that you, have come to your senses,and think about what you are PAID to do.
    As for seeing a mental health professional, I do not think it is necessary. The attraction was physical (underpant)department. Plus you were flattered by his attention which was probably to get favouritism for his child and a bit of cheap “hows your father” on the side. Since you did not succumb to this cheap dalliance at least that merits you for something. He won’t be giving you a second thought.
    Behave yourself in the future. Good luck Lottie

  3. Maddie says:

    I think you should work in a different profession. Your judgment, or lack of it, is off the charts. Concentrate on your students. If your district finds out about this, you will be out a job.

  4. Amy F says:

    Lorna,
    I think you need to step way and take a long look at yourself and your behavior without blaming him for the friendship by using words like “seduced”. You are not a victim in this scenario. As the professional in the relationship, it’s your job to set the boundaries and uphold ethical standards for your profession. If I were you, I’d get some counseling to figure out what caused you to get into such a taboo friendship. What was missing in your life that you were trying to fill? How can you get what you need from heathy relationships?

    From your letter, the issues seem a lot more complicated that whether you and this guy can be friends (you can’t). You can learn to develop the skills you’re lacking that caused this friendship to develop and intensify. Is there a way someone else can teach his son, even If that means transferring schools? I see all kinds of potential red flags.

  5. Elaine says:

    As a teacher, you should be sharp enough to know — from the the start — that it’s totally inappropriate to get romantically involved with the parent of a student. At the very least, you could lose your job. You are also jeopardizing the reputation of your child’s school as well as other teachers in general.

  6. Mary says:

    Hello Irene, is it?
    Not sure how this site really works, and i wrote you asking.

    I think you said in your reply, its only yourself that replies?

    I simply cant understand then why the page reads- leave a reply.

    Can you explain it pls thankyou.

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