Updated: August 2, 2011 12:15AM
Dear Abby: I am a teacher with a dilemma. I have taught for 10 years and connected with thousands of former students. With the Internet and social networking, I am able to keep in touch with many of them. I enjoy knowing what they’re doing in their college careers and beyond.
One student I’ve kept in touch with recently admitted his romantic love for me. “Kyle” is now in his 20s and on his own. As his teacher 10 years ago, I’d never have dreamed of this happening. What’s difficult is I think I reciprocate those feelings. I never expected the man I connect with most to be a former student, but Kyle is an adult and I know him as such.
I’m not sure what to do. I’m aware of my professional boundaries as a teacher and would never cross those lines with a student or minor. What do you do when your former student is an adult, you live in a small town and you’re drawn to each other? This could be the love I’ve been waiting for my entire life. Would it be totally inappropriate if I followed my heart?
Wondering in Wyoming
Dear Wondering: No. Because Kyle is an adult, and when he was your student there was no flirting (I presume), I see nothing unethical about pursuing the relationship. However, if your romance becomes fodder for gossip — and it very well might — you should be prepared to relocate.
Dear Abby: I went to the zoo with my daughter’s class as a chaperone. While we were there, I saw several children begin climbing the walls of some of the exhibits. They were not part of the group from our school. I promptly asked the children “nicely” not to climb on the exhibits for fear they would hurt themselves or fall in.
A parent who heard me ask her son to get down began yelling and cursing at me in front of my daughter and the other children. I said, “I’m sorry,” and walked on.
I don’t feel I did anything wrong. I was trying to warn the boy that what he was doing was dangerous. Did I do the wrong thing? Or should I have talked to a member of the zoo staff about what happened? Please advise what you would do if someone’s child did what I witnessed.
Vigilant Parent in Oklahoma City
Dear Vigilant Parent: Candidly, I probably would have reflexively done exactly what you did — get the child out of harm’s way. However, the prudent way to handle a situation like the one you encountered would have been to alert the zoo staff or security personnel so they could handle it.
Dear Abby: In our golfing circle there’s a single, 47-year-old professional woman with two children. We thought we knew her. Come to find out, she has been involved for the last five years with a married man who has a child.
We’re uncomfortable having her around us now. None of us is perfect, but a woman who would take another’s man and wreck a home is one thing most women can’t stand. What, if anything, should we do?
Tee’d Off in Alabama
Dear Tee’d Off: Before deciding what to do, talk privately with the woman, tell her what you have learned and hear what she has to say about it. After that, you’ll know what (or what not) to do.