Have you been watching Waterloo Road (BBC1, Wednesdays 8pm)? In a storyline that Zoë Heller would be proud of, we have a teacher pupil love affair that’s bound to end in tears.
Young Miss Montoya, Spanish teacher with a tight dress, offered Jonah Kirby extra lessons that a hot-blooded young male couldn’t refuse. It was the student who did the seducing in this case, but Miss Montoya was increasingly attracted to him and fell in love. She knows her job will be on the line if anyone finds out, but she’s serious about him so finally decides it’s worth the risk.
In situations like this, there could be as little as five years between teacher and pupil if she’s fresh from training and he’s a sixth-former. It probably still counts as a cougar toyboy relationship since there’s a world of difference between an eighteen-year-old manchild and a twenty-five-year-old woman in terms of life experience and outlook. In this case, Jonah is particularly mature for his years having been home-schooled for much of his life. However, in many cases, having a man’s body doesn’t equals having a man’s mind.
I think it’s the illicit star-crossed nature of this pairing that is the furnace fuelling their attraction – perhaps on her part at least. Some people love having a secret and that keeps the frisson fizzing. I’ll be interested to see if it survives after reality kicks in, when she loses her job and they have no money to pay the bills. I’ll be surprised if this one has a happy ending. The programme must have a large school-age following and they probably couldn’t be seen to condone it.
So, if you have a heart-squeezing crush on your teacher, don’t expect the same reception as Jonah if you try to pursue it. And, when she knocks you back, don’t forget that you won’t be able to escape the embarrassment, seeing her day in day out and even having to have one-to-one chats about your grades. If you’re a teacher in love with a pupil, you already know how reckless it could be to overstep the mark in a position of responsibility. Either don’t do it, or make darn sure you never get found out.