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From the Other Side...

Hi,

I think it is wonderful what you are all saying. I think love is a wonderful and amazing thing and is the closest thing we have to magic on this planet. There is nothing wrong in loving someone. That being said, I just wanted to share something with you from the "other side". Like I said, there is nothing wrong with loving someone. It's just all in how you love them. And even then, people misconstrue things based on their own beliefs and experiences...

I am...was, a teacher. No, I didn't sleep with a student. No, I didn't touch a student inappropriately. No, I didn't give them booze, drugs, or break any kind of laws. I would NEVER do anything like that. Never. What I did was to not be careful about caring.

I teach music - funny how it's always the music teachers getting in trouble, huh? I think you can chalk it up to long rehearsals, intimate quarters, and just doing something which requires so much emotion and feeling, so much giving of yourself personally, that just creates a bond between teacher and students. There is nothing like it in any other subject. You can try to argue it but there is no comparison like singing or playing an instrument. It is really a gateway into your soul. Anyway...

I used to teach music in a small, rural, low-income school district. About half the kids (and I'm being generous) came from either neglectful or abusive households. I taught kids from fith grade all the way up to high school. So over the course of their time in the district, I would see these kids grow from being shy timid 11, 12 year olds into wonderful young adults. Seven years. That's a long time to know someone. Almost half of their life. I had many students who told me that I was either like a second father to them or that I was like the parent they never had and always wanted. It's hard not to grow attached to these kids and thing of them as your own despite knowing that there are lines there that you have to be very very careful not to cross. I remember one girl, out of a dozen or so, whose mother came up to me on the day she graduated. She said to me, "I just thought you should know, the only reason she came to school was because of you." How do you not feel moved and touched by such a statement. How do you not want to do everything in your power to reach out to more of these kids and show them that they are important, that they can learn, that someone cares about them.

<<I know I am being long winded, but it is important to know the background so you can understand what I am getting to>>

If you've ever been in chorus (or any other ensemble) where there are kids that just don't seem to want to be there and you wonder why the director just doesn't kick them out...well, it's because even though they don't seem to be paying much attention, they really need to be there. This girl I told you about - she was one of those kids. Had I kicked her out of chorus - she would have become a drop out. By letting her stay, she graduated and went on to college. That's why. Everyone matters.

Anyway...I've been in this district nine years. (had been). Six years ago we started doing Musicals. Ever been in a musical? If so, you know how tight knit the cast can get. We were that way. I had to constantly tell kids to stop changing in front of me and go change in the bathroom (we used an old town hall for our shows). Most of the time, they ignored me and I just turned my eyes, shook my head, and walked away. They laughed. My last year my wife who helped with the shows and I grew very close to the senior class. To give you any idea of what this class was like: Out of the top ten, only 2 were not in the musical.

--so here's where the story really starts--

I'm going to leave some details out to preserve some anonymity. One of my seniors. Yes, they were my seniors. I knew some of them for seven years like I said. One of my senior girls came up to me the day before graduation. Mind you, they were all done their classes and just had closing ceremonies which weren't really required. Basically they were graduated. I'll also mention that she was 18, almost 19, not that it matters because nothing happened between us - which is the cautionary part. She came up to me and was very upset and emotional about something that happened to her (involving her "soon-to-be" ex-boyfriend and this other guy she liked). She confided in me some stuff that happened and I listened and supported her. She asked if she could hang out with me as I did some errands. Her parents didn't care. My wife was ok with it. And I thought, you know, she's 18, she graduates tomorrow. No big deal. Well, that's not how the school district decided to view it. Next thing I knew, I'm hearing rumors that we are sleeping together, that this happened and that happened.

To make a long story short, despite myself denying, despite her parents denying, despite her denying, despite her being 18 and basically no longer a student, the superintendent decided that there was enough evidence to get rid of me and basically ruin my career. In the end, I resigned rather than risk going through a trial/hearing and getting it publicized in the news. Nothing will kill you faster than that as a teacher. Not that I am going to ever teach again...I never want to have to deal with that again. All because I cared too much about a student who asked if I could be her friend for a little while.

So please...please...think about what you are doing before you do it. Sure, he/she may seem like the greatest person in the world. Sure, they seem really nice to you - and for the most part, I believe your teachers do honestly care for you. (Some of the stories, from what I read, some of them care too much as in the wrong way - girls, be very very careful of them). Just know that should you act on your feelings, there can be repercussions so huge it can make your head spin. And in the end, the person you love will suffer terribly for that love. If you really love them, wait until AFTER you graduate. Wait until you are in college and there is some distance and space. Then, if you still have those feelings, then tell them. Just think first. Going through what I did was sheer hell. I ended up in a deep deep depression (and still am most days) and it has been nearly a year now. No one needs to go through that. Love them. Just wait though. and be careful, because, like my story illustrates - even if nothing happens, impressions and rumors can be just as good as fact in getting a teacher fired/layed off.

Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I wish I could have been a little more detailed in what happened but I, my wife, my daughter, or the girl need any more publicity. The only reason I shared it at all was to give you an idea of what can happen even in the most innocent of circumstances

KnightBlade KnightBlade 36-40, M 27 Responses Mar 24, 2009

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Amazing Story! A completely vital point, that many of these girls simply must understand, and follow. I'm truly sry for what happened to you, its such a shame to hear that such a great music teacher was forced to stop teaching for such an innocent gesture. A truly great music teacher is hard to come by now-a-days.

True. I have a relative who teaches and says the male staff in particular have procedures to ensure they aren't left alone with students in case students start allegations. It's sad, but what can ya do? Thanks for sharing.

best story i have read in this group!!<br />
Im happy to view a perception from the other side, thank you for sharing!,

best story i have read in this group!!<br />
Im happy to view a perception from the other side, thank you for sharing!,

wow your story and all the comments is really giving me another look to this teacher/student relationship. i am very much in love with my teacher, i just turned 18 and i am in a relationship with him. is this bad?

Thank-you :) <br />
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I'm thankful of all the comments and support you have all given me. I've come to accept what happened and move on (finally) but I'm glad many of you have had teachers like me who have been supportive and caring. I think, in the end, it's these teachers that really make an impact in our lives and push us to be better people. I know that was true for the teachers in my life. The strict and demanding ones did not inspire me. The teachers who saw and encouraged potential within did though.

I'm so sorry you have to go through all of that. If there are more teachers like you out there school life would be so much better. You remind me of my Maths teacher back when I was still in high school. He had helped me a lot back then by giving me the support I needed. Anyway, good luck to you in everything that you do. You are a wonderful person :)

Thank-you for the lovely comments -- all of you. :) I'm happy to have my story be so well received. When I originally told it, it was a cautionary tale. I wanted to just shine some light on the other side of the coin. I never dreamed it would get so much attention and respect. <br />
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I think it is easy to fall in love with your teacher. They are supposed to be kind and caring. Most teachers get into the profession in part because of their love of the subject but mostly because they had someone in their life, another teacher, who they wanted to emulate. I know that is...was true for me. I wanted to be just like my high school music teacher. He made us feel cared for, safe, respected, and important. Those are vital things when you are a teen. <br />
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There is no harm in feeling Love for someone. Just remember there are different kinds of love. :)

I am in love with my english teacher, and as you said, he seems to be the most important and perfect man in th eworld and my life.<br />
I know that his greatest love in life is his teaching, he's told me that, although he hates the marking and spreadsheet part, he is deeply passionate about teaching.<br />
I only started to fall in love with him because he listened to me about my problems, he was the first person to notice something was wrong.<br />
But as I said earlier, he loves what he does, and i will not even DREAM of jepordising his career and love by telling him or making a move. He is worth so much more to me than that. Thanl-you for telling your story so other people will realise the real depth of what some people think.

ill also like to say its people like you who make me wish to become a teacher someday and that i could make a difference in a childs life

haha im kind of late commenting on this but i onley seen this now and i really enjoyed this story. As a student in high school myself i really wish there was more caring teachers like you whos teachers for the love of children not for the love of the summers off<br />
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something like this also happen to a teacher in my old school like you he cared alot about his students and got punshied for that. He use to let students come in to his classroom after class to watch movies or just to talk . we also had to stay in our classes during luch times but he use to let kids in any of our classes to come in his classroom during lunch to go on computer or just hang out.The principal use to get mad with him breaking the rules and use to tell students off in front of him and the teacher would pick up for the students. one day the principal caught the teacher using the bathroom in the boys bathroom when he was supposed to use the staff bathroom (before you get the wrong idea many teachers use the children bathroom and many students used the staff bathroom) any way he end up getting suspended from the school.<br />
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i would like to say that i hope you the best of luck and dont ever regret anything you ever did as a teacher and if you ever go back as a teacher dont ever change the way you teach because you impact the students in a way u cant imagine

Thanks. Unfortunately, that's the way things are these days, at least around here. Teachers tend to be public enemy #1. In some places, districts may protect bad teachers (at least that's how the media portrays it, and it may be true, though I bet it's more the exception than the rule). Where I taught, the administration bowed down to any and every complaint. One person complains it becomes "we have heard complaints from several people". This was true across the board there and not just with me. Since I left, the school board and administration pretty much purged everyone that they didn't like. The heads of the teacher unions quit as well as many other good teachers. In the end, they cut the music department as well. The place was evil and they ruined a lot of good, caring teachers forever.<br />
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But, what can you do? Not much. I doubt I will ever go back to teaching just because I don't want to deal with that again. Besides, I would always be fearful about caring too much.

Wow...that is beyond screwed up! They didn't have any proof or evidence?! How is that even possibly?! <br />
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Well I'm really really sorry to hear about that, that has to be really hard. I hope things are getting better for you though...you are a really awesome person from what I've read, & what advice you have given me about me & my situation. I hope things are looking up. (: <br />
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I still can't believe that though, so screwed up! D:

Thanks. No, not really any evidence of anything because...oh right, nothing happened. It was nuance and innuendo. The girl needed a friend and she trusted me. I was the only one who knew what was going on and she didn't want anyone else to know. So, I stayed near her the whole trip--which led to rumors that I was acting more like a boyfriend than a teacher. People saw what they wanted to see. A lot of the chaperones were parents who did not really like my decisions regarding what the music department did and did not do. They used what they saw and pasted together a completely inaccurate portrayal of what happened.<br />
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Now, the thing to remember, as I found out, is that a school doesn't really need to prove anything actually happened, at least in Maine. As long as they can show your "unprofitable" to the district, they can get rid of you. In this case, enough rumors spread = bad reputation. <br />
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Did they bother to take statements from those who actually were with me and the girl? No. Did they talk to teachers who were on the trip and knew myself and the girl? No. In fact, the administration blatantly refused (told one teacher to her face to go away because they don't want to hear it) to listen to any sort of evidence to the contrary.

Thanks Reciprocal. Perhaps, yet I'm not so sure I want to go back. It's hard because I miss it so badly. I miss my students and what I did. I enjoyed teaching. I enjoyed making music with them. I made sure that every one of them felt like they belonged and were welcomed. Even the ones I wanted to bash my head against the wall about, I made sure that they knew that I accepted them as well.<br />
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There is a serious disconnect though in society about education and teachers. We want them to be these super awesome beings who are always there for us. We want them to go out of their way and form connections that make kids want to learn. We idolize and make heroes of them in movies when they go above and beyond what they are supposed to do. <br />
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Yet, when it comes to reality, we rally against the ones that do this. We think of teachers who form these kinds of relationships as predators or that they are "inappropriate". The teacher who goes out of his or her way to make sure a kid is safe outside of school gets fired or accused of having an indecent relationship. Those teachers who care about their students and would go out of their way for them...well...they open themselves up to losing their jobs or being fired.<br />
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That is how society is these days. I know I sound jaded but perhaps I've just begun to believe the lies they told. I have seen what the political side of teaching is like and it has nothing to do with the "good" of the students. This same school that said they were getting rid of me because I wasn't watching out for the best interests of the students...yeah, the Superintendent who accused me of not having the best interests of the students at heart - two years after I left, she cut the entire music program. This wasn't about me or the kids, this was about money. <br />
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As for the girl, I'm still friends with her. It was hard because I was unable to talk to her for four months, a lot of damage happened to our "relationship" our friendship. She's off at college now, has a steady boyfriend. She's like a daughter to me and I a second father. I was the one who took her out for her 21st birthday because her parents and boyfriend, and friends were not there for her. If she ever needed me for anything, I would be there. If she needed a place to stay, my door is always open to her. <br />
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I don't care what they accused me of, I would always be there for one of my students. Any time. Any where. But, that's why I'll never be a "good" teacher, I care too much. Ah well...I am who I am.

You sound like a truly kind and caring teacher, the sort I think all of us students look up to. It's awful that this happened to you when you were clearly undeserving, but if society has any inkling of good in it, you'll find your way back to doing what you love.<br />
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At the same time, I feel pretty horrible for that girl. She must be devastated that you had to resign because she simply needed your support. Thank you for sharing all of this though; it's eye-opening.

I didn't expect to actually hear/read the words of a teacher about this experience. I agree with the rest of the people here -- this is a sad story and it is terrible that you had to lose your job the way you did.<br />
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Your story was also very inspirational - it made me smile :)<br />
I am a senior myself. My (last year) astronomy teacher is indeed a wonderful person, but despite my feelings towards him I have made sure they are kept in check. There are many reasons why, some of them being the ones you mentioned. I suppose it is mainly because I care about him too much to let anything bad happen.<br />
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Thank you for sharing this :)

Thank-you for your comment. It's been a while since anyone has replied to this story. I'm going to try to get my certificate back. I'm sure I'll have to jump through tons of hoops and when all is said or done, still be unsure - even when I have my certificate of getting a job. Most jobs ask those dreaded questions: have you ever resigned during an investigation. *sigh...yes, yes I did. .....I hate the advice my lawyer gave me. Whatever. <br />
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But, thank-you PaintedPhoenix. It's nice to hear comments like yours. Gives me some hope.

hey knightblade,<br />
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wow that sucks. gah stories like this make me sick... I want to work in care when i'm able to work again, but the rules and regulations in care homes and residential placements drive me mad.... political correctness and all that twaddle is killing our country. :/<br />
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But you sound like a genuinely nice person, and a really good teacher. it's good you're doing work you enjoy with computers (YAY, computers!!), but if you regret leaving teaching, i agree with keyscratch, why not try privately tutoring or working at a special needs school?<br />
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I'm autistic, and I've been to two special needs schools, and i can honestly say that if it wasn't for 2 of my teachers, i might not be alive now. admittedly the two teachers i admire so much tend to get in trouble a little cause they care.... which is BS really. But hehe they are awesome. i'm in contact with one, and i haven't left the other placement for young adults i'm at at the mo. they are really genuinely nice people, and they have made a HUGE difference to my life. I'm hoping to live semi-independently in 2 years, which I thought i'd never do. hell, i thought i'd never get my GCSE's, and i've got all A-Cs! mainly cause of the AWESOME teacher at my last place.<br />
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I guess what i'm saying is, people like you inspire me to be the person i want to be, the person i feel i am.<br />
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Never give up - if they push you down and you sink, there's always a lifeguard at the other side - you just have to know where to look for them.<br />
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If you want any info on special needs schools and what they're like, ask me - i consider myself an expert after 4 years of 'em! xP<br />
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But yea.... don't give up. i believe in you.

I try my best :)

keyscratch, you made me smile. I could teach private lessons. Yet, it's not quite the same. I think what I really enjoyed was seeing students on a daily basis and watching them grow - yes, I had to deal with the good and the bad, but overall, the good outweighed the bad. I think though, that was the problem where I taught, they didn't want us forming relationships with students. Obviously there are good and bad relationships - that didn't matter to the administration where I taught - they saw all relationships as bad. Perhaps not all schools are that way, but I will never know. The odds of me ever being able to teach again, public or private are slim to none. I have no recommendations. Every application asks the question: "Did you resign during an investigation." Which, even though they paid me to go, I have to answer yes - that's a death sentence. Had I known then what I know now, had I known how this would all eventually play out - well, I think I would have taken my chances and fought. But, we can not change the past, we have to accept the present and live for the future. But, thank-you keyscratch, smiles are sometimes hard to come by around here.

couldnt you just like teach as a private teacher where you only teach like two people?

Thank-you Keyscratch - and everyone else. It's not easy, even knowing you didn't do what they accused you of. It's not so much about the truth as it is about who can lie the best as I've learned. It's hard giving up something that meant so much and trying to find a new way of life. I wish I could go back to teaching music - I really did love it and I think I made a difference in the students lives, yet that will not be possible for me...and that hurts. I just hope that I can learn to let go. Your comments help though. Thank-you

That stinks. But then again thats how things usually turn out. Thanks your story has helped me. I also like music I play the flute. It stinks that you were a music teacher because music is important and there are not as many who teach music as math or science. Espescially music teachers who are good.

thanks. I am working at Geek Squad now :D - I love it...still not as rewarding as teaching was. I'll miss seeing the light in their eyes when they do something they didn't think they could or understand something new and exciting. That's something only teaching can give you. But, computers was something I always loved working with and on. So, working GS is only temporary until I can find a better tech position (hopefully soon). Good bunch of guys and girls I work with - much different than teaching that way.

I'm very sorry that this happened to you. This is extremely unfair. Just because of one student's actions were unreasonable, it should not have cost you your job. <br />
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But just out of curiosity...what do you do now?

That is rough being good kind and decent ..comes back to bite u in the face..