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Possible inappropriate teacher/student relationships?
27

TT1102 · 19/02/2021 16:30

I’m sorry if it’s strange to post this here. I just really don’t know where to turn and I thought this forum could be helpful due to there being active teachers who could offer their thoughts on what happened and advice.

From the ages of 14-17 (15 years ago), I started having emotional difficulties and confided in a teacher at school. I was depressed, self-harming, making myself sick - really struggling to function. The relationship that then transpired between the teacher and myself wasn’t normal. It had no boundaries, was heavily dependency driven and extremely damaging to my then vulnerable state and future self. I became completely isolated from friends and family, and withdrew to the point where this teacher became my entire world.

Without going into all the details.... mostly the teacher and I would meet alone during and after school, and he would also give me lifts to and from school. We would email each other regularly and there were phone calls, texts, gifts and hugs. All of these interactions involved us talking about our problems and were never school related.

The teacher never shared the extent of our contact with the school or my parents. I believe he was warned to distance himself from me at one point, but then told me we could keep communicating and things carried on. No one seemed fully aware/bothered about what was happening, so no one ever stepped in. As nothing sexual/romantic occurred, it’s incredibly hard to explain this experience to people as well as the effect it had/continues to have on my life.

It’s taken me years to even talk about this situation because I can’t make sense of it or understand what it all meant. I feel abnormal, at fault, and deeply ashamed. Even though I was a child, I still blame myself for engaging in this relationship with him because of everything it left me with. Through living with the chaos of the emotional difficulties I was struggling with at the time, and the added rollercoaster of the connection I had with the teacher, trauma that already existed was compounded and I developed PTSD.

I guess that essentially, I just need an outside opinion - especially from someone who knows the rules and regulations teachers have to abide by. I really don’t know if I’m making a huge deal out of nothing and the problem is with me or if what happened really was wrong and inappropriate and he needs to be held accountable in some way.

I would be grateful to hear from any of you, or if you have any direction of where I could go for further advice, I’d appreciate it so much. Thank you.

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OpheliasCrayon · 19/02/2021 16:53

Other people may disagree with me, but unfortunately I feel that the nature of this is not something that is appropriate or should be discussed on MN. Perhaps your union?

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Dustyboots · 19/02/2021 17:28

I don’t think OP is a teacher. She is talking about what happened to her as a child.

I think you should post in a different section OP. I realise you want teacher opinions though.

I trained as a teacher but never became a proper one. It sounds very confusing and not right at all to me. Not your fault though. The teacher was in the wrong.

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Malbecfan · 19/02/2021 20:18

OP I'm sorry to read this. You are not in any way to blame. The teacher should have known better than to get involved, however innocently.

Any relationship between a teacher and their student, even if the student is over the age of consent is wrong. There is a power imbalance. If the attraction is genuinely felt on both sides, it can wait until the younger has completed their education.

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OpheliasCrayon · 20/02/2021 07:44

@Malbecfan

OP I'm sorry to read this. You are not in any way to blame. The teacher should have known better than to get involved, however innocently.

Any relationship between a teacher and their student, even if the student is over the age of consent is wrong. There is a power imbalance. If the attraction is genuinely felt on both sides, it can wait until the younger has completed their education.

if the attraction is genuinely felt on both sides, it can wait until the younger has completed their education

What?! No it can't - it would have been a relationship that had been started when one of the parties was underage and the other was their teacher. That's criminal what on earth are you saying PP????
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AyrshireAmbler49 · 20/02/2021 07:53

It sounds like your teacher really overstepped the professional boundaries. You were a child and he was abusing his position of power.
Although there was no sexual abuse happening, he was still behaving very inappropriately, you were so vulnerable.
If I were you I’d seen counselling to work through your confusion.

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SmileEachDay · 20/02/2021 10:05

I’m a teacher and also the safeguarding lead at my school.

What you describe is completely and utterly inappropriate. If a member of staff noticed this or a child reported it to me, I would refer it straight to the LADO - who is the local authority safeguarding lead.

It is critical to the safety of children that their relationships with teachers remain within very clear professional boundaries - particularly if a child is already vulnerable.

I’m really sorry this happened to you. What do you want to happen next?

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YetAnotherBeckyMumsnet · 20/02/2021 10:14

Hello @TT1102 we're so sorry to hear how you're feeling. Flowers

Please take a look at our mental health webguide for links to support. Mumsnet is an excellent source of advice and support but is no substitute for real-life, professional help.

Best wishes

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TT1102 · 20/02/2021 10:30

I’m really sorry if I offended anyone by posting in this section. I was searching for confirmation that what happened was inappropriate and I didn’t quite know where to turn. It’s extremely helpful to have views from teachers, so I do appreciate you all taking the time to reply.

It’s such a difficult experience to explain. The situation goes round and round in your head and you end up in a confusing self-blame cycle - ‘I’m making a big deal out of nothing’, ‘It wasn’t as I remember’, ‘It was my fault for approaching him in the first place’ etc. I think that as it’s never been acknowledged or validated by anyone (even at the time), it makes it so much harder to put into perspective.

Honestly, I don’t even know if there is anything I can do next? I feel like what happened completely altered my life and the path my future took. I lost most of my teenage years being wrapped up in the situation and the years that followed were pretty chaotic. I think he should be held accountable for what he did but I doubt that’s really a possibility now.

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MrsHamlet · 20/02/2021 11:04

I'm sorry this happened to you.
Students confide in us all the time but we know what we have to do, which is listen without judgement, and then pass it on to someone like smile who will pass it on to people who can help.
What happened to you was wrong. It wasn't your fault.

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OpheliasCrayon · 20/02/2021 11:28

I didn't realise you weren't a teacher, sorry. Im sorry this happened to you and you definitely need professional help. It was definitely wrong and you are not making a big deal over nothing.

You deserve help for this OP and to be able to work through your feelings, not to move on from this, but to be able to learn to live with what's happened and how you feel.

And please for goodness sakes anyone else who reads this @Malbecfan your advice is horrifying.

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Malbecfan · 20/02/2021 11:55

@OpheliasCrayon, I have no idea what you are saying. Why is it "horrifying"? I said clearly that any relationship between a teacher and student, even when over the age of consent is wrong.

Either you think that romantic relationships between teachers and their students are acceptable or you are deliberately stirring things and choosing to misunderstand what I wrote. I did not say anything about a relationship starting at school.

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OpheliasCrayon · 20/02/2021 12:09

[quote Malbecfan]**@OpheliasCrayon, I have no idea what you are saying. Why is it "horrifying"? I said clearly that any relationship between a teacher and student, even when over the age of consent is wrong.

Either you think that romantic relationships between teachers and their students are acceptable or you are deliberately stirring things and choosing to misunderstand what I wrote. I did not say anything about a relationship starting at school.[/quote]
Not at all I'm stirring nothing - why would I do that about something as serious as this.

I'm shocked because whilst you have said yes that it is completely wrong when the child is at school, you've said it can wait until after the child has finished their education..... But .. that's just wrong! Because in that situation, You're saying that the relationship would then be ok as they're not student / teacher and they're 18+ but you're ignoring the fact that the attraction had started when it was a student/ teacher relationship and the student would have been underage etc - which is wrong and illegal. Maybe I'm not explaining this well or you didn't mean that , but a relationship which started with an attraction when one of the people was an underage student is never acceptable!!!

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SmileEachDay · 20/02/2021 12:16

There should be no “attraction” from the teacher’s side. Our students should not be sexual beings - they’re our students and we are in loco parentis.

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TT1102 · 20/02/2021 14:08

Sorry, I didn’t mean for this to cause any confrontation between posters.

I think we can all agree that sexual attraction/relationships between teachers and students at any point is wrong. Just to be clear that this isn’t a case of any sexual abuse occurring.

I think this also highlights why the situation I was in/am in is so difficult - in terms of holding someone accountable.

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StaffRepFeistyClub · 20/02/2021 15:24

Well, he overstepped the mark from a professional viewpoint - lots of absolute no-nos in your op.

I agree that you need to talk to someone about what you want next.

If you wish to peruse a complaint you should raise it directly with the school. Is the teacher still there? Alternatively contact the Teacher Regulation Agency about teacher misconduct. You will need to provide details and evidence will be important.

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TT1102 · 20/02/2021 17:30

@StaffRepFeistyClub

Well, he overstepped the mark from a professional viewpoint - lots of absolute no-nos in your op.

I agree that you need to talk to someone about what you want next.

If you wish to peruse a complaint you should raise it directly with the school. Is the teacher still there? Alternatively contact the Teacher Regulation Agency about teacher misconduct. You will need to provide details and evidence will be important.

Thank you for your reply and validation that what happened was wrong.

I think what I’m struggling with most is finding the right person to discuss it with. I have spoken about it with my therapist and think I’m at a point now where I can’t move on unless it is openly addressed in some way. I feel a great sense of injustice and lack of closure.

Unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps), he is no longer a teacher at the school. If I were to report him to the Teaching Regulation Agency, I do have lots of evidence of the interactions. It’s difficult to find the right resources that have knowledge about the process of reporting him though as it seems quite daunting.
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MrsHamlet · 20/02/2021 18:16

If you go to the teacher regulation agency website, there is a form you can fill in in order to make a report to them.
If he was still at the school, they would have been your first port of call. As you say, luckily, he's not - so the TRA is your point of contact.
It must be very daunting though.

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Claire926 · 20/02/2021 18:25

This sounds like he was grooming whether it was unintentional or not it should be reported. I don't know if he is still teaching but others could be put at risk. I hope you get professional support in being able to deal with what happened to you. I'm glad you got the courage to ask for support.

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MrsHamlet · 20/02/2021 18:26

Sorry... I've just realised that "luckily he's not" doesn't sound quite as I meant it to, but I can't find the right way to say it. With any luck, he's no longer teaching.

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SmileEachDay · 20/02/2021 18:34

Do you parents/carers know OP?

That might be a good first step.

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TT1102 · 20/02/2021 19:43

Thanks for all your support and advice. It’s reassuring to know that I’m not overreacting and it really was inappropriate.

I’ve taken a look at the form and it seems simple but at the same time extremely overwhelming. I sense it’s just a case of listing all the interactions/events and attaching evidence. It’s unfortunate that there doesn’t seem to be any place to go for help if you’re an independent person reporting. If feels a quite lonely process and I worry that I won’t be believed because it happened quite a while ago and it’s taken me so long to speak about it.

My Mum knows the extent of what happened, but I’ve only really discussed it with her openly the past year or so. I still hold some frustration towards my parents for not stepping in and questioning what was happening at the time as they had some knowledge of it.

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MrsHamlet · 20/02/2021 19:47

All teachers have their registrations maintained - if that's then right word - by the TRA, which is probably why you have to go through them.
I assume that they will look at the evidence and then investigate further. If he is still teaching, they will know where.
Whatever you decide to do and whenever, know that it was wrong and that it wasn't your fault.

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SmileEachDay · 20/02/2021 21:54

My Mum knows the extent of what happened, but I’ve only really discussed it with her openly the past year or so. I still hold some frustration towards my parents for not stepping in and questioning what was happening at the time as they had some knowledge of it

This is probably worth some work. You were a child who should have been protected - and quite a vulnerable one from the sounds of things.

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TT1102 · 21/02/2021 12:28

Thank you to you both. I'm glad I finally had the courage to post on here, your thoughts have been very helpful.

I guess that, even after getting all the thoughts/advice I can from others, ultimately only I can make the decision about whether I feel capable of reporting him and everything that entails.

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MrsHamlet · 21/02/2021 13:54

I hope that we've at least reassured you that you weren't in the wrong in any way. And also that you can get some peace of mind, whatever you ultimately decide to do.

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