(No)bodies in education blurred boundaries in teacher-student relationships /
Abstract (Summary)I use a feminist, quasi-poststructural theoretical framework to investigate teachers who both illustrate and complicate the distinction between what Erica McWilliam terms pedagogical eroticism and pedagogical abuse. My primary data sources are interviews and artifacts collected from Hannah and Kim, high school English teachers who have had a sexual relationship with a student. I frame their cases with Mary Kay Letourneau and Heather Ingram, two headline-heavy teachers whose backgrounds and affair patterns are similar to Hannah’s and Kim’s. All four women have in common a troubled family history, a void from an unhappy relationship, and a holistic pedagogical approach; and they fell in love with their students in the process of saving them from academic failure. The women exemplify cases in which a teacher-student boundary was clearly crossed, although it is not always clear who the victim was, or if there was one at all. My intent is to illustrate how this boundary crossing happens so that educators can understand the conditions under which such a crossing is made possible and recognize the indicators that the sexual dynamic present in any pedagogical relationship may be something different, something dangerous. I consider when the condition of eros becomes the problem of abuse, making the argument that the Cartesian duality pervasive in education is a contributing factor. My data chapters take the reader through the development of a teacher-student affair, with particular attention to the onset of the relationships, the justifications the teachers used to rationalize their choices, the teacher/lover role tension they experienced, and the denouements of both the relationships and the women’s teaching careers.
School:The University of Georgia
School Location:USA - Georgia
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication: