Workplace relationships can get complicated which is why some organizations discourage the act even though there are no laws against coworkers dating. In the teaching profession, various relationship scenarios have been raised.
And although most educational institutions have policies against teachers dating students, only a few have any policies against teachers dating other teachers, or even teachers dating parents of their students.
We’re all people and companionship comes with the territory. And with most of us spending a majority of our time at work, it’s inevitable for a romantic relationship to develop between some coworkers.
This is no different in the teaching profession as two teachers, possibly with a genuine understanding of each other’s lifestyle and challenges, can be attracted to each other.
Before we get more into the specifics, let’s take a look at the legal ramifications of dating among coworkers.
Is It Legal to Date Coworkers?
The United States law does not forbid dating among coworkers. However, employers are permitted to implement anti-fraternization policies in their respective workplaces.
Flirting with a receptive colleague or even dating is not illegal, but it’s worth noting that any behavior that crosses the line into sexual harassment is illegal in the workplace.
Do Teachers Have Affairs with Other Teachers
Teaching is a very stressful job, as a typical day for a teacher involves classroom management, assessment implementation and grading, planning, researching, developing and implementing instruction, and other professional obligations.
With a classroom full of students from varying backgrounds, personalities, and levels of understanding, teaching is one of the most stressful professions.
It should come as no surprise that some teachers resort to various means of stress release, with affairs between coworkers who understand this stressful life, being the most popular means.
This may come as a surprise, but according to a survey by dating site Illicit Encounters, teachers were found to be the most likely professionals to have an affair with their colleagues.
Yes, teachers aren’t just having affairs with their colleagues, they’re dominating at the top of the list.
27% of teachers admitted to having had sex with a colleague in a classroom. A 2020 poll also found some 54% of teachers had an affair with a fellow teacher or school worker.
Can Teachers Date Each Other
Yes, like any other profession, teachers can flirt with a receptive colleague and date each other as this is legal. However, some schools and districts have implemented anti-fraternization policies that forbid any such relationship.
Some educational institutions may not have any regulations against coworker relationships but simply discourage it, in an attempt to minimize or even avoid any negative effect on their institution, students, or the administration of duties.
There are no written rules preventing teachers and other coworkers from dating in most parts of the world including the United States and the United Kingdom.
With experience comes maturity and some educational institutions or districts, based on previous experiences, may decide to institute a policy against teachers dating.
While teachers who breach these regulations may not be arrested, the institution, in this case, has the right to penalize offending teachers based on their outlined policies.
Let’s take a look at why some schools discourage or institute policies against teachers dating each other.
Why Teachers Shouldn’t Date Each Other
There have been cases where teachers or to be more specific, superiors in school ended up dating other teachers, leading to unfair preferential treatment and even promotions.
A typical example is the principal of the school getting someone in a management position transferred outside the school only to promote their spouse to that position.
While it is easy to understand the act, it’s morally wrong and can be in breach of district policies. Unfortunately, such situations can be difficult to deal with as the principal simply needs to claim their spouse earned it.
Dating a superior comes with reduced accountability as your partner may be hesitant to confront them over any misbehavior.
A teacher dating the principal could also leverage this opportunity to behave rudely or inappropriately to other teachers without fear of being reprimanded.
Chronic flirting with a partner in the workplace would distract the involved teachers and by extension uninvolved co-workers.
While flirting may be normal with partners, it can become a source of distraction to other teachers.
While this can be properly controlled in the case of long-married couples, the situation may be different in the early stages of a relationship.
Schools, like any other workplace, have their own share of gossiping. In an age of technology, news travels fast especially in a well-populated environment like a school.
This becomes a major source of distraction in the institution especially when the relationship is characterized by infidelity.
While some breakups may be civil, it can still be challenging seeing the face of someone who broke your heart on a daily basis.
In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to arguments especially if the previous partner gets involved with another teacher.
This can disrupt activities in the institution and even affect the students who then become unwilling spectators.
Is Dating Another Teacher Wrong
There’re multiple instances of teachers dating each other without issues and even leading to marriage.
Dating someone you’re attracted to in the workplace isn’t wrong but it’s recommended to keep things in the school environment professional.
So long as the parties involved can remain professional in the working environment, and keep the romance at home, dating among teachers is no problem.
This scenario can be easily identified in a small town as several couples can be identified among the teaching staff.
Can A Headteacher Date A Teacher
While there is no law against dating a teacher, holding the teacher accountable becomes challenging for the headteacher responsible for their evaluation. Additionally, any data presented in their evaluation would be seen as biased by other staff members.
It’s therefore unadvisable for a superior, in this case, the headteacher, to be in a relationship with a teacher.
In the case where this is unavoidable, boundaries should be set to maintain professionalism in the working environment.
How To Handle Workplace Romances
Workplace romances may not be illegal, but some measures should be put in place to avoid any negative consequences.
- Ensure the institution or district has no policies against teachers dating other teachers before deciding to date a colleague
- Be certain you’re serious about the relationship and not just a fling as this can lead to problems down the line in case there’s a relationship with another teacher.
- Maintain professionalism at the workplace and any aftermath has no effect on your abilities to effectively administer your duties
- Refrain from flirting and other forms of PDA in school. Stick to the same professional behavior you have with other teachers when interacting with your partner
- Address any relationship issues outside work to avoid distracting other teachers with any arguments and fights
- Plan for the worst-case scenario at the beginning of the relationship, keeping in mind that any negative fallout from a breakup could largely affect the school’s policy on teacher dating.
Teachers can date each other so long as it’s not against the school or district’s policies and parties involved can be professional at their workplace, keeping their romantic relationship at home.