Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Hot for Teacher?

So I’ve been watching a lot of television over the last few days.  Well, a lot of television on hulu.  It just takes a lot less focus to lie in bed with your laptop and watch some crap on hulu than it does to read.  And so instead of using my sick time to read a couple of great books I’ve watched hours of bad television.  Sad but true.

One of shows I watched was Grey’s Anatomy.  Don’t ask why.  Because it was there and I hadn’t seen it in a year or two-ish.  I was curious.  And bored.

Now, maybe I missed some big important plot points because I was half-asleep through most of what I saw, but it seemed to me that many of the young female interns and residents are romantically involved with older doctors.  In other words, they’re sleeping with their teachers.

I’m not judging.  These didn’t seem like quid pro quo relationships.  That’s not my point.  My point is that on a mainstream television show it’s pretty much accepted and OK (and not remarked upon, I don’t remember reading anything about this) to show teacher-student romantic relationships as acceptable – as long as the teacher is a man and the student is a woman. I’m thinking there’d be a few articles written and eyebrows raised if a show had a bunch of older female doctors sleeping with their much younger interns.  If they tried to show that as a norm, instead of playing it for comedy.

Anyway, I think I was particularly sensitive to this issue because I have pretty strong opinions about teachers dating students, even when they’re both of age.  I think it’s wrong.  That’s right, there aren’t too many things I’m willing to come out and say, “I think this is wrong” but I think teacher-student relationships (in all situations) are wrong.

And I say this, btw, as a former teacher. Yeah, I used to teach.  Adults. And no, I’m not going to say more about that now.

I don’t think it’s possible to take the power imbalance out of teacher-student relationships. Or boss-employee relationships, for that matter.  Not completely.  You can try.  But I don’t think you can ever be 100% successful.

Which brings me to this week’s poll question:  Do you think it’s ok for a teacher to date a student (if both of them are adults)?

  • Yes. I see nothing wrong with it as long as they’re both consenting adults. (19 votes)
  • No. (31 votes)
  • Maybe. It depends on the circumstances and how much influence/power the teacher holds. (31 votes)
  • Other. Please explain in the comments. (2 votes)
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12 to “Hot for Teacher?”


  1. genesisrocks says:

    Hmmm…I think it’s okay if they don’t let the relationship interfere with work or school, but I could see the teacher abusing his/her power over the student if the two have a fight or something. Guess what I’m trying to say is that in some cases it works out but in most cases it’s a bad idea

  2. sbares says:

    My roommate used to teach at an alternative high school. At the time, she was 23 or 24 and her students were 17 or 18. She’s mentioned friendships she had with the students outside of school (going to see bands together, hanging at each others’ houses), which seemed inappropriate to me. She currently has sexual relationships with some of her former students. And while she is no longer their teacher, it still weirds me out when her former students stop by the apartment.

  3. Quirkyeconomist says:

    As a college professor, I have a lot of students that want to believe they are adults (and legally, I guess they are), but I just can’t imagine any situation where dating a student who is in one of your classes would be OK. I don’t even like to *socialize* with my students, to avoid issues with even the appearance of favoritism. Aside from issues of power imbalance and favoritism, it’s just really unprofessional behavior – I’m not sure it’s OK even if the student isn’t actually in one of my classes. I have colleagues who dated students but those students were not actually in their classes and I think they thought that made it OK but if those students had been in MY class, I would have been really uncomfortable (especially before I got tenure). What if the student failed my class and my colleague took it out on ME?

    btw, on Grey’s, there HAVE been female teachers (residents or attendings) sleeping with male students (interns) – Callie was married to George and Addison slept with Alex. Of course, on Grey’s, everyone sleeps with everybody…

  4. drumdance says:

    I don’t really have an opinion about it and dunno how common it is in hospital settings, but it’s very common in theater departments.

  5. hholcomb says:

    I think dating a prof when you are a student is fine as long as said teacher is not YOUR teacher. How hard is it to wait until the end of the semester to go on a date? I mean, it’s only 16 weeks. Granted, when I was in college, I was an older student, so dating my peers would have been a stranger thing than dating an older prof. At 26 I had no interest in going out with 18 or 19 year old guys – not even 21 year old guys. As for the high school scenario mentioned above – yeah, that’s a little creepy.

  6. Hypersingle says:

    Hmm…why bother risking the complications and accusations of dating medical students, interns, or residents when nurses are much more fun.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m mainly attracted to men who are older and more powerful than I am, which I think is totally normal. (Professors aren’t my type, but bosses sure as hell are.) So I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. Besides, since such relationships are typically frowned upon by universities, so it’s not as if the students have no recourse if the power imbalance is abused.

  8. You Make My Date says:

    I dated my martial arts teacher for a while, and it was amazingly awesome. Although when we broke up, it made training really awkward, because our martial arts style was similar to wrestling and we had to roll around over each other all sweaty.
    Yep, awkward.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think I could ever date my teacher, professor, or boss–even if I was no longer their student. And I do think it’s wrong to do so as well. I guess there’s a gray area if the student is not dating their professor but the professor still teaches at the same school the student attends. The only situation where this would be acceptable, in my point of view, is if there was already a pre-existing relationship between the two parties. For example, your girlfriend/boyfriend applies to and gets into the graduate/professional school at the university where you’re teaching. That’s ok, in my book.

  10. Dating Down Under says:

    I can understand that it sounds bad to hear that a teacher and student has a relationship. It may be so because then student is not really learning the actual subject from teacher but is in different thoughts and may not be giving full attention to real subject. Other than that, I think it is ok if both are of same age and are attracted towards each other.

  11. Simone Grant says:

    -genesisrocks
    I’m sure there are plenty of cases where it works out fine. But like you said, disagreements in the relationship could prove problematic.
    -sbares
    What you describe would seriously stress me out. Especially when you’re talking about students so young. Trust is such a big issue. Smh.
    -Quirkyeconomist
    I’m with you, SO unprofessional. I could go on and on with my issues on this (the issues of power and influence…). Re Greys – why is that show so popular?
    -drumdance
    I think it’s common in most departments in most universities. To some people it’s seen as little more than a fringe benefit. Again, smh.
    -hholcomb
    I’m just going to defer to Quirkyeconomist’s comment. I realize that as a more mature student you might have seen yourself outside of this dynamic, but if you were in a relationship with a professor, there would have been an inappropriate power imbalance. And the professors who take advantage of this tend to do so over and over.
    -Hypersingle
    I’m not taking the bait.
    -Anon
    Hey, I like older guys too (as I wrote). But the teacher-student is different. A student’s attraction to his/her teacher is likely clouded. And vice versa.
    -You Make My Date
    That sounds extremely awkward.
    -Anon#2
    Yep. I’m with 100%. Some things are just wrong.
    -Dating Down Under
    I don’t really think this has anything to do with what’s being taught or learned. It does have to do with grades, references, preferential treatment in the classroom…

  12. university says:

    My friend also dated one of the teacher. His age 20, teacher age 30, He faced more problems with this affair… college videos