Hi, here in Trinidad, we have different school systems. I’m in secondary school (high school and middle school together) and I know that I’m in love with my chemistry teacher. He’s around 25 – 30 and he’s always staring at me, even in class when he wants to pick up a lesson where he left off, he ALWAYS walks all the way across the class to see my book. For our Christmas Program, I was modelling for the intermission period, and when he saw me in the outfit (it wasn’t that skimpy) his jaw hit the floor. Whenever he sees me he smiles, he even tries to be funny, and kind of shows off sometimes around me. One time, he even started whistling and pretending not to see me when I walked past (he was looking at me through the corner of his eye). He is truthfully no Brad Pitt, but still, he’s cute, kind of short and he and I even have the same interests.( Anime, Rock, Guitar, Cricket) I really need to know what to do and whether I should approach him after I graduate.
Thanks so much for writing in to us with your question. AlterHeros is actually based in Montréal, Québec so the outreach team is most familiar with issues based in Canada. However, apart from the legal aspect of your situation, most of the feelings and issues you are facing can happen to anyone, irrespective of their culture, nationality or country. Therefore I believe we can still offer you some guidance concerning your present situation.
It is great to know that you’re experiencing love, but from your letter, it seems you have some concerns about the relationship you are considering to initiate with your teacher. It sounds like you are really enjoying the attention he is giving you. A concern that comes to mind in this case is the appropriateness of your teacher’s behaviour. As a teacher, he is not only expected to teach you the material you need to succeed later in life, but he has also been entrusted with your safety and well-being. In many cultures, the fact that he is giving you this extra attention and maybe even making advances is considered inappropriate behaviour. It is totally normal to feel happy and flattered but what would your parents think if they knew your teacher was acting this way? I am sure that they would worry about him taking advantage of you, especially since he is quite a few years older.
Of course, you can’t always choose the person you love and this can be surprising, confusing and very exciting at the same time. So you have to ask yourself: Is he the kind of person I want to have a relationship with? Take some time to really think about him and try and figure out what he sees in you. Is it because you’re smart? Pretty? Funny? You two must have chatted at some point if you know that you have similar interests. Think about what you see in him. You say that you find him cute and that you share common interests but is that enough? Try to envision what a future relationship would be like. Does it seem realistic or too good to be true?
Some other things that you might want to think about are the consequences of this relationship. What would your family and friends think? What about your community; how would they take it? It is true that you are graduating and that is a great step towards becoming an adult woman. You might think that you know what is best for yourself, but your parents and friends will definitely have an opinion on this matter. If you feel like you can talk to them openly about it, go ahead and discuss it; it is a very smart and mature thing to do. If they truly care about you, they will tell you what they think is best, so listen to what they have to say. If, on the other hand, you feel like you can’t talk to them, that might be a sign that the relationship isn’t the best idea. A really good relationship should make you feel happy and proud to share it with the people you care about. Consider this carefully before making any decisions.
The last issue that needs to be brought up is whether you are considering having a sexual relationship with this man. According to the website AVERT (a website about AIDS and HIV information: http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm) the law in Trinidad and Tobago states that you must be 16 years or older to be able to agree to consensual sex. That means that if you have sex with your teacher, he will be breaking the law and he could be charged with statutory rape. Since you are 14, even if you want and agree to have sex with him he can get into a lot of trouble if anyone finds out about your relationship. Remember that laws are made to protect us, even if they seem unfair at times.
In the end, it really is up to you to decide whether or not you want to pursue your teacher after graduation. Make sure you weigh in all the pros and cons so that you can make the right choice. He might seem like the perfect person for you right now but think about what could happen if you accidentally become pregnant -although of course I hope you will be using protection and practicing safe sex if you do decide to engage in a sexual relation, with him or anyone else. Would he stay and be supportive or would he just say he will and leave you when things get difficult? Do you trust him enough to believe what he tells you? These questions aren’t the nicest things to think about but it is important to go over them in your head. If he is really serious about starting a relationship with you, you should be able to talk about these things with him as well as other people who care about you. If he doesn’t want to think or talk much about a future involving the two of you, that could be a sign that he just wants to have fun and not have a real relationship. Could you handle that or do you want more?
Hopefully, you’ll be able to make the best choice for yourself after thinking everything through. Good luck and please write to us again if you have any more questions.
K-Wo for AlterHéros