Update: Fifteen states are looking into tightening the loopholesthat have allowed teachers with histories of sexual misconduct stay in the classroom.
At (almost) 25, I'm young enough to look 16, but old enough to take that as a compliment. I am also old enough to realize how disturbingly easy it is for a young educator to get into a relationship with a student.
Just an hour ago, I walked into a 9th grade classroom to observe the teacher. Class was about to end (I was there for the next period) and kids were milling around. I took the opportunity to ask the students what they had just learned that class period. I'm sitting there, talking to a small group when a boy, fresh-faced, too-cool, with a slight mustache, came over and threw his arm around my shoulders.
"Hello." I lean away, trying to slide his arm off. Maybe he is just trying to be friendly. I'm wearing pumps, have a visitor's sticker and my laptop is out.
"Do you have a boyfriend?"
"Yes." My face heats up. He obviously doesn't recognize my authoritative look. "I work with your teacher. I'm here to observe her teaching."
"Oh yeah?" He grins slyly. "Too bad. You're real pretty." Apparently my authoritative role didn't matter.
This certainly wasn't the first time a student has tried to hit on me. Clearly I have the ethics and self-control to not be lured by this 15-year-old. It was just a reminder how we are the adults, no matter how young we look.