Summer Love For Teachers

When school’s out, love is in session for teachers… or is it? Find out how to keep your dating life on schedule year-round from teachers and experts alike.

By Julie Taylor

eachers have a tough, demanding job nine months out of the year — one that doesn’t leave a lot of time (or energy) for dating. But once summer comes, it’s time to kick back, cut loose and have some “me” time… or “you-and-me” time, if you’re single and looking to date.

High school teacher Jeff Hayes* says, “The school year is exhausting. Most days, coming home and doing
The weather is great and your time is yours and yours alone.
nothing is absolutely the best thing for me. In fact, a lot of the times during the school year, I’m so busy that I hardly even notice I’m single. But during the summer, I have more time to go to dinner, movies, plays and for dating in general.”

Many teachers feel the same way. Dating is on the back burner during the school months, then kicks into high gear when summer comes around. It’s like dating on steroids: after all, you’ve got three whole months without papers to grade and lesson plans to finish. There are no extracurricular school activities taking up your nights and weekends. The weather is great and your time is yours and yours alone. It’s like 45 weekends strung together all at once!

Some teachers even give themselves a 90-day dating challenge: “Last summer, I really hoped to be in a relationship by the time the school year started back up,” says junior-high teacher Amanda Riley*. “I was going on three to five dates a week. To me, dating was a numbers game. The more guys I met, the greater my chance of meeting The One. I’m still with the boyfriend I met last summer — nine months later!”

While relegating dating to summer worked for Amanda, marriage and family counselor Dr. Karen Gail Lewis advises against it. “I don’t want to sound like a curmudgeon, but if a teacher is assuming it is easier to date during the summer, what would happen to a long-term relationship or marriage?” asks Lewis. “Would the teacher only be there (emotionally) when he or she is not working? Everyone has to figure out how to manage working and relationships in their everyday life. It can be tough, but that’s the basis of all relationships.”

One way to make more time for romance during the school year that’s worked for elementary teacher Cindy Miller* is to date only on weekends. “That way, I’m not stressed out during the school week,” Miller says. “Achieving a work/life balance is especially important when you’re a teacher, so it’s really important for me to carve out some fun time on Saturday and Sunday. I can’t put my love life on hold for three quarters of the year.”

At times, it can seem as though the school district itself is against teachers dating. In fact, the
I’m so busy that I hardly even notice I’m single.
Columbus Education Association discouraged teachers from posting social networking profiles of any kind as far back as 2007, according to an article in The Columbus Dispatch. There is a great amount of pressure to “represent” the school even when you’re off the clock.

“I almost always run into someone I know when I got out to restaurants or movies,” says Miller. “I try to go places outside of my small town if I’m on a date because I don’t want to make my students uncomfortable or feel like I’m being watched.”

If you do get involved in a relationship during fall, winter, or spring, openness and honesty is key, says dating coach Corey Donaldson, author of Real Men Can Read Women Like a Book! “Being a teacher puts unusual time pressures on a relationship and so it limits the teacher’s ability to be able to fulfill the needs of his or her mate,” Donaldson says. “It also limits those mates’ ability to fulfill their own needs. Regardless of what time of year someone is dating, the teacher should be open and honest about what a potential partner can expect during the school year.”

How much are you willing to put into a relationship? “Teachers need to consider this — are you living so you can teach, or do you teach so you can live?” continues Donaldson. “The answer defines what it will be like for any partner to be with you and can affect another person’s desire to be with you in the first place. Teachers should be clear about what they are willing to contribute to a relationship and why they want to be in one.”

Some say dating other teachers is the ideal scenario — after all, they’re the only ones who can truly understand what you’re going though in the first place. Searching for other teachers on dating sites can be worth the effort; just think about the amazing spring breaks and summer vacations you could take together! If you choose to take this route, avoid using the subject line of “Hot for Teacher” in your introductory emails at all costs. As you probably know from personal experience, a cute, eligible teacher has heard that line a few thousand times already and originality is key in your initial communications.

So listen up, single teachers: As summer approaches, take time to really think about what you want to accomplish in your love life by September. Create a lesson plan for love… then make your summer sizzle!

* Names have been changed to protect individuals’ privacy.

Julie Taylor is a writer in Los Angeles who’s written for Redbook and other publications.
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