Student Came Asking for Relationship Advice...Feel Like I Said The Wrong Thing

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by HistoryTeach4, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. HistoryTeach4

    HistoryTeach4 Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2014

    It feels great that a student felt comfortable to come to me to ask for advice with a relationship. I tried my best to give her general advice and show both sides of the situation. Now that it is the next day and I am replaying the conversation over in my head I am wondering if I said the right things. I am afraid that what I said might make the situation worse or make the student feel worse.

    This is my first year teaching high school. I have only worked in elementary schools in the past and have never had students come to me with this kind of advice.

    I am just feeling so horrible. I am so sick to my stomach. Could it just be the first year teacher nerves getting the best of me and I am thinking to much into it?
     
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  3. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Sep 13, 2014

    It can be tricky. I had a student last year tell me his girlfriend had a pregnancy scare. His gf was in another period so I knew her also. I knew both had crappy home lives, so I sent both of them to the nurse for a safe sex talk and also notified their counselors. I told them each (separately) in advance that I would do these things. They knew I was just worried about so it went ok.

    In other less drastic situations, I try to just be neutral and emphasize students taking care of themselves and to evaluate if the angst is really worth it. I ask them about their future goals and just try to a) get them thinking about the future a little and b) make sure they are happy with how they are being treated. Usually they just want a friendly ear and it blows over. I keep an eye out for any red flags in case I should talk to counseling or parents, but most of it is typical kid stuff.
     
  4. HistoryTeach4

    HistoryTeach4 Rookie

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    Sep 13, 2014

    This student had just broken up with her boyfriend and was wanting to get back together. She was upset because he couldn't tell her what he wanted even though she expressed her feelings. I told her all people express their feelings in different ways and that some can't do it with words. I said she might have to wait for him to express himself and that is a really hard thing to do. She mentioned that he had grown up in the last couple of years. I said we all grow at different rates and that even me at 28 am still growing. I did tell her it is up to her what she wants and to try being friends first.

    I am not good with this relationship stuff. I thank you for your advice.
     
  5. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Sep 13, 2014

    I wouldn't stress over it at this point. Maybe you should just refrain from giving relationship advice if it's going to bother you later on. As a first year teacher, you are probably being highly critical of everything you do (which is natural). You just have to learn to let things go or you will drive yourself crazy/sick.

    Personally, I only talk to my students about relationships if they come to me, but I try not to give any real advice. I just listen and let the student vent, but I'm weary about saying too much.

    Now, despite that, whenever I hear students talking about sex in class; I ALWAYS say the following 3 things - no matter what the students were specifically talking about:
    1. Sex is for adults who can financially support a child. Can't support a baby on your own? Don't have sex.
    2. STDs can come from all types of activities. Condoms are not fail proof.
    3. "No" means "no." "Stop" means "stop." Even if she's laughing and giggling; don't get yourself caught up.

    My students talk about sex a lot and the sexual acts they do afterschool/on the weekends. I don't feel right just ignoring some of the things I hear.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 13, 2014

    I agree.

    I pretty much never give relationship advice. If a student came to me asking for real help with this, I would just listen to their problems, offer encouragement that I am certain they can find the best solution to their problem, and they go on their way.

    Most times I will just say, "I'm not the person you should be talking to about this, I'm horrible with relationships. But I wish you the best of luck."
     
  7. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 13, 2014

    If you're looking for ways to stay neutral, have a script. Mine is, "You can talk with me any time, and you can bounce ideas off me, but the ultimate decision about these things has to be yours."
     
  8. msmac21

    msmac21 Companion

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    Sep 13, 2014

    I personally think what you said was perfect! It sounds like a speech I would give my high school aged sisters. You stayed neutral and gave her valuable life advice, and made her feel comfortable by saying that even you are still young and learning! You must be an amazing teacher for her to feel okay coming to you for tips!

    I wouldn't stress over it. You can always follow up with her later and add anything you think you should have said! But I think what you said was professional and neutral, yet helpful.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Sep 13, 2014

    First and foremost, you don't want to know what is going on in a teenager's head, and that is true whether you were in their shoes five years ago or fifty. I so agree that you need to give support without giving guidance or advice. If you are going to have advice, make sure it is to send the student to the counselor. Their job, not ours. Sounds tough, but you never know what a student can twist your words into, so be very careful.
     

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