The Student Room Group

Is my teacher overstepping boundaries?

My English teacher has been teaching me for about 2 years now. At the start, he gave me all his social media for ease of contact. One night last year, I gave him a text and night asking for advice. He responded immediately and we kept talking as the months went on. I even called him at midnight once and he answered, even though it was exam week.

Fast forward earlier this year, we had gotten closer. He asked me to talk to him during lunch and whatnot. He has put the job on the line to defend me from the principal many times. I think he treated me with preferential treatment. But I thought that was all to it.

It's graduation season now, and I won't see this teacher again. For obvious reasons I'm sad, so I cried on the last day of school. I think bawled is a better word for it. I cried to him while I talked about how much he meant to me. And I cried to my friend about how I will never see him again.

Prom is also coming around and I decided to write him a letter. I guess I got carried away and made it 8 pages long! (warranted, given he saved my life a few times) It's also around this time my friend tried to give me a piece of her mind. She said she thought it was iffy that I would go that far for a teacher, and that he was overstepping typical student-teacher boundaries. She said everything I've talked to him about could've been brought up with a therapist (I have two). Ithought she was irrational and petty, so I blew up at her. Now she won't talk to me. Was I wrong for that? Was my teacher overstepping boundaries? Was it weird??
He was. Teachers aren’t supposed to give out social media or personal details.. I’m glad he was supportive of u but theirs a definite boundary issue
Reply 2
Original post by Anonymous
My English teacher has been teaching me for about 2 years now. At the start, he gave me all his social media for ease of contact. One night last year, I gave him a text and night asking for advice. He responded immediately and we kept talking as the months went on. I even called him at midnight once and he answered, even though it was exam week.

Fast forward earlier this year, we had gotten closer. He asked me to talk to him during lunch and whatnot. He has put the job on the line to defend me from the principal many times. I think he treated me with preferential treatment. But I thought that was all to it.

It's graduation season now, and I won't see this teacher again. For obvious reasons I'm sad, so I cried on the last day of school. I think bawled is a better word for it. I cried to him while I talked about how much he meant to me. And I cried to my friend about how I will never see him again.

Prom is also coming around and I decided to write him a letter. I guess I got carried away and made it 8 pages long! (warranted, given he saved my life a few times) It's also around this time my friend tried to give me a piece of her mind. She said she thought it was iffy that I would go that far for a teacher, and that he was overstepping typical student-teacher boundaries. She said everything I've talked to him about could've been brought up with a therapist (I have two). Ithought she was irrational and petty, so I blew up at her. Now she won't talk to me. Was I wrong for that? Was my teacher overstepping boundaries? Was it weird??

Teacher giving out social media contacts = immediate and massive red flag. Please report. This is unprofessional behaviour on his part. Please do not give the letter to him. He is your teacher, not your friend, confident or love of your life.
Original post by Anonymous
My English teacher has been teaching me for about 2 years now. At the start, he gave me all his social media for ease of contact. One night last year, I gave him a text and night asking for advice. He responded immediately and we kept talking as the months went on. I even called him at midnight once and he answered, even though it was exam week.

Fast forward earlier this year, we had gotten closer. He asked me to talk to him during lunch and whatnot. He has put the job on the line to defend me from the principal many times. I think he treated me with preferential treatment. But I thought that was all to it.

It's graduation season now, and I won't see this teacher again. For obvious reasons I'm sad, so I cried on the last day of school. I think bawled is a better word for it. I cried to him while I talked about how much he meant to me. And I cried to my friend about how I will never see him again.

Prom is also coming around and I decided to write him a letter. I guess I got carried away and made it 8 pages long! (warranted, given he saved my life a few times) It's also around this time my friend tried to give me a piece of her mind. She said she thought it was iffy that I would go that far for a teacher, and that he was overstepping typical student-teacher boundaries. She said everything I've talked to him about could've been brought up with a therapist (I have two). Ithought she was irrational and petty, so I blew up at her. Now she won't talk to me. Was I wrong for that? Was my teacher overstepping boundaries? Was it weird??

Yes, it’s really weird that he gave you his social media. That’s not appropriate at all. The way you feel makes sense but he’s in the wrong
Reply 4
Girl he was 1000% overstepping the moment he gave u his socials, that is not allowed whatsoever. Let alone calls???? At midnight? Never should have happened it’s odd
Reply 5
Is the teacher in the habit of giving his social media info to the entire class or most of the students he teaches? :confused:
I know a few teachers that do this, normally those in their late 20s or very immature types who still act like teenagers but are in their 30s.
Sounds like he's probably become too much of a teen pal and less of a responsible adult.

But if he ever tries to get you to come round to his home or asks you out on a date, he's a creep- no matter how old you are.
Reply 6
I have one of my teachers phone numbers/socials but only because I go on a lot of trips and things / are close to them. But we never use it it is just there if I needed it.
But in your Situation he was really over stepping and you need to stop eg: don’t give him the letter and maybe send him a message saying that it’s not okay and you can’t do this and your sorry. As a teacher student relationship it’s not good.
And other people on the chat tell me if you think I’m wrong but. I know quite a few people who have stayed really good friends with teachers


So if you are really genuinely upset about not seeing him any more then you can still stay friends and talk and whatever x
Reply 7
I have personal experience here and so I can offer a slightly different perspective.

For a short while, I worked as a maths teacher in a high school and was fortunate enough to have built good professional relationships with the majority of the children I worked with.
Very many of them (30+) found me on Facebook and added me after they left. Some of them wanted help/tuition with their A-level maths work and others just wanted to stay in touch.
A couple of them have gone through difficult times personally and for whatever reason felt that they could reach out to me for advice.
I was happy with this as our relationship was, and still is, professional.

I decided teaching wasn't for me, mainly due to the politics, so I left.

It depends on the individual and motivations and tbh that's difficult to ascertain.
I think phoning your ex-teacher at midnight and him putting his job on the line to defend you is a bit of a red-flag tbh.

The best teachers we remember from school are not just the ones who taught their subject well, but those who were additionally able to connect with their students.
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 8
Original post by ebyrne2036
He was. Teachers aren’t supposed to give out social media or personal details.. I’m glad he was supportive of u but theirs a definite boundary issue


Deffo at most teachers can give leaving students their email just to keep in touch but social media is a bit much
Reply 9
Original post by Teresa09
I have one of my teachers phone numbers/socials but only because I go on a lot of trips and things / are close to them. But we never use it it is just there if I needed it.
But in your Situation he was really over stepping and you need to stop eg: don’t give him the letter and maybe send him a message saying that it’s not okay and you can’t do this and your sorry. As a teacher student relationship it’s not good.
And other people on the chat tell me if you think I’m wrong but. I know quite a few people who have stayed really good friends with teachers


So if you are really genuinely upset about not seeing him any more then you can still stay friends and talk and whatever x


Yeah I'd say emailing is more than enough tbh- every now and then just to ask for advice or update them on your life
Original post by mathperson
I have personal experience here and so I can offer a slightly different perspective.

For a short while, I worked as a maths teacher in a high school and was fortunate enough to have built good professional relationships with the majority of the children I worked with.
Very many of them (30+) found me on Facebook and added me after they left. Some of them wanted help/tuition with their A-level maths work and others just wanted to stay in touch.
A couple of them have gone through difficult times personally and for whatever reason felt that they could reach out to me for advice.
I was happy with this as our relationship was, and still is, professional.

I decided teaching wasn't for me, mainly due to the politics, so I left.

It depends on the individual and motivations and tbh that's difficult to ascertain.
I think phoning your ex-teacher at midnight and him putting his job on the line to defend you is a bit of a red-flag tbh.

The best teachers we remember from school are not just the ones who taught their subject well, but those who were additionally able to connect with their students.

PRSOM
Reply 11
Original post by mathperson
I have personal experience here and so I can offer a slightly different perspective.

For a short while, I worked as a maths teacher in a high school and was fortunate enough to have built good professional relationships with the majority of the children I worked with.
Very many of them (30+) found me on Facebook and added me after they left. Some of them wanted help/tuition with their A-level maths work and others just wanted to stay in touch.
A couple of them have gone through difficult times personally and for whatever reason felt that they could reach out to me for advice.
I was happy with this as our relationship was, and still is, professional.

I decided teaching wasn't for me, mainly due to the politics, so I left.

It depends on the individual and motivations and tbh that's difficult to ascertain.
I think phoning your ex-teacher at midnight and him putting his job on the line to defend you is a bit of a red-flag tbh.

The best teachers we remember from school are not just the ones who taught their subject well, but those who were additionally able to connect with their students.

This maybe so, and my students are welcome to email my school email address or via my school Teams account. But connecting informally on social media just isn't worth it. Professionally you are walking on thin ice at best but the expectations certainly on the part of the student who is certainly lacking experience and emotional intelligence are often unknown.

Like you say, the best teachers are those who teach well and connect with their students... in the classroom.
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by hotpud
This maybe so, and my students are welcome to email my school email address or via my school Teams account. But connecting informally on social media just isn't worth it. Professionally you are walking on thin ice at best but the expectations certainly on the part of the student who is certainly lacking experience and emotional intelligence are often unknown.

Like you say, the best teachers are those who teach well and connect with their students... in the classroom.


I agree with this. In part.

If I were a HoD and I found out that one of my teachers had accepted student's FB notifications, alarm bells would start ringing.
On the other hand, from my point of view, I personally know my intentions are not malicious in any way. Obviously I understand that nobody can see my thoughts and so couldn't know.

It goes back to what kind of person you are, i.e. whether the relationship remains professional (as it should), or whether you're having midnight conversations with them as in the OP's case.
I've tutored old students through A-level maths which is what they wanted as they liked my teaching style.
I've also had old students reach out when they've been facing difficulties in their personal life, e.g. with mental health, and I've gently sign-posted them to services.

A couple have asked if I'd like to meet up for a pint (they're now mid-20's) but I haven't taken them up on this as I still see them as my high school students, if that makes sense?
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 13
Original post by mathperson
A couple have asked if I'd like to meet up for a pint (they're now mid-20's) but I haven't taken them up on this as I still see them as my high school students, if that makes sense?


The right choice indeed. My question is why would you want to go for a pint with a former student in the first place? What would a teacher hope to gain from such a meeting? Is their life so bare they are unable to make friends generally?
Original post by hotpud
The right choice indeed. My question is why would you want to go for a pint with a former student in the first place? What would a teacher hope to gain from such a meeting? Is their life so bare they are unable to make friends generally?


I guess that's a question for the sort of person who takes their old high school students for a pint.

It's strange in a way.
My uncle (aged almost 80) has told me stories when his science teacher would always take their lesson on Tuesday afternoon off and head over to the pub to watch the horse racing. My uncle and a couple of friends (not the entire class) used to go with him.
These days the teacher would be swiftly sacked. Mind you, it was a safer world back then and in my uncle's little village, "everyone knew everyone" (quote).

EDIT: not justifying teachers slacking of teaching to watch the horses, was just making the point about how things have changed (according to my uncle!).
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 15
Original post by mathperson
Mind you, it was a safer world back then and in my uncle's little village, "everyone knew everyone" (quote).

Are you sure?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Savile
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Glitter
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_sexual_abuse_cases_in_Ireland
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/feb/05/police-uncovering-epidemic-of-child-abuse-in-1970s-and-80s
etc etc

Everyone knew everyone else but politely turned a blind eye to things that might be deemed taboo.
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by hotpud
What would a teacher hope to gain from such a meeting?

Some private & grammar schools in England and Scotland do have a long history of encouraging a few of their most well connected senior teachers to do this.
Particularly the heads of house & political societies and those who are former military who have retained close links with many students or their older relatives who have/had long military careers.

It's mostly for networking purposes and to increase alumni fundraising.
Sometimes asking the most successful former students for favours like mentoring difficult pupils or internships.
Occasionally motivated by curiosity about how a favourite former pupil's life turned out or wanting to reunite old schoolfriends who lost touch several years earlier. I fiercely disagree with any teacher attempting the latter and have never seen it end anything but unpleasantly for all involved.

Pre-covid, I used to meet up with my favourite teacher at my last school twice a year.
Once as part of the annual large group meetup for members of the all girls political society he founded in the late 80s.
Once one to one, generally during the summer holidays in Ulster or Scotland.

A lot of pupils in my year who were badly bullied or didn't enjoy their school years for other reasons opted not to update their addresses when they moved out of their parents property and won't reply to any letters from their old school requesting info on where they are studying or working.
The deputy head caught on pretty fast and the rotten apple of a headmaster started mass calling & emailing students who did stay in touch trying to trace them. :facepalm:
Reply 18
Original post by londonmyst
Some private & grammar schools in England and Scotland do have a long history of encouraging a few of their most well connected senior teachers to do this.
Particularly the heads of house & political societies and those who are former military who have retained close links with many students or their older relatives who have/had long military careers.

It's mostly for networking purposes and to increase alumni fundraising.
Sometimes asking the most successful former students for favours like mentoring difficult pupils or internships.
Occasionally motivated by curiosity about how a favourite former pupil's life turned out or wanting to reunite old schoolfriends who lost touch several years earlier. I fiercely disagree with any teacher attempting the latter and have never seen it end anything but unpleasantly for all involved.

Pre-covid, I used to meet up with my favourite teacher at my last school twice a year.
Once as part of the annual large group meetup for members of the all girls political society he founded in the late 80s.
Once one to one, generally during the summer holidays in Ulster or Scotland.

A lot of pupils in my year who were badly bullied or didn't enjoy their school years for other reasons opted not to update their addresses when they moved out of their parents property and won't reply to any letters from their old school requesting info on where they are studying or working.
The deputy head caught on pretty fast and the rotten apple of a headmaster started mass calling & emailing students who did stay in touch trying to trace them. :facepalm:

I am sure. And if it is done through formal channels with everyone's consent out in the open for all to scrutinise, there is no issue. Friending a student via the private medium of social media is quite a different matter.
Reply 19
Original post by Anonymous
My English teacher has been teaching me for about 2 years now. At the start, he gave me all his social media for ease of contact. One night last year, I gave him a text and night asking for advice. He responded immediately and we kept talking as the months went on. I even called him at midnight once and he answered, even though it was exam week.

Fast forward earlier this year, we had gotten closer. He asked me to talk to him during lunch and whatnot. He has put the job on the line to defend me from the principal many times. I think he treated me with preferential treatment. But I thought that was all to it.

It's graduation season now, and I won't see this teacher again. For obvious reasons I'm sad, so I cried on the last day of school. I think bawled is a better word for it. I cried to him while I talked about how much he meant to me. And I cried to my friend about how I will never see him again.

Prom is also coming around and I decided to write him a letter. I guess I got carried away and made it 8 pages long! (warranted, given he saved my life a few times) It's also around this time my friend tried to give me a piece of her mind. She said she thought it was iffy that I would go that far for a teacher, and that he was overstepping typical student-teacher boundaries. She said everything I've talked to him about could've been brought up with a therapist (I have two). Ithought she was irrational and petty, so I blew up at her. Now she won't talk to me. Was I wrong for that? Was my teacher overstepping boundaries? Was it weird??


the moment you mentioned / i got to the part about him giving you his social handles was an immediate strike. no teacher is supposed to give out contact details to a student unless if it's his school email. (for mine or at least here, all of my teachers have their own email that's only for school use etc so if i needed to reach out to my english teacher when not possible, alternative is to use the school email of theirs) and that should only ever be used school related etc.

your friend is right when stating it could be brought up to your therapist but in no way does that get to put the blame on you for another's stupid actions. he's obviously a grown a** teacher - and yes he is overstepping boundaries and was to begin with. take care though ! don't put any pressure against yourself

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