Are Teacher-Student Romances Ethical?

September 12, 2012 12:31
Are Teacher-Student Romances Ethical?

Every time we hear about a teacher student romance, there is a sharp intake of breath; then 'ooooo' and 'ahhhhhh' follows. A romantic relationship between teachers and students is not without precedence. In fact, it is one of those love stories that is straight out of the textbook. However, we are still shocked by a teacher student romance because it is one of those taboo relationships in our society.

While a student is still immature and can get infatuated to his/her teacher, is it ethical for a teacher to fall in love with his/her student? On the occasion of Teacher's Day here is Boldsky's take on it.

Why the student falls in love?

Most of us idolise our teachers as adolescents. A confused teenager is disciplined by teachers, ridiculed by friends and often finds solace in a teacher. The teacher thus becomes that one adult who tries to understand them. It is not easy to find a friend in an adult and that element of friendship draws the student towards the teacher. Some teacher student relationships are like hero-worship. The student literally worships the teacher and that turns into a platonic love.

Why the teacher reciprocates this love?

Every teacher was once a student. That is why it is easier for them to understand how it feels to be on the otherside of the desk. Moreover, a teacher sometimes develop a sense of protective instinct for the student that is almost kin to love. However, there are some cases of teacher student romance where the teacher is just going through a mid life crisis and falls for a younger guy or girl.

When is it unethical?

If a teacher uses the devotion of student for his or her own ulterior motives, then it is not ethical. The relationship between a teacher and student should be selfless. A teacher must never manipulate the student for jumping into a romantic relationship. Having said that, teaching is a profession and falling in love with a student is unprofessional.

A student must also realise that a teacher can never become an equal; they must always be held at a position of respect. If a student uses a teacher student romance as a means to secure good grades then it is sheer cunning.

Why make a value judgement?

We have often heard people say that a teacher-student relationship is sacred and must not be tainted with romantic love. So, does that mean that romantic love is unholy or disgraceful? Love is an emotion that is holy in every form. So even if a teacher student romance is taboo by social norms, it is sacred because it is 'love' nonetheless.

So our message on the occasion of Teacher's day is that as long as love is pure and genuine, it needs no social justification.

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