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  • Tillie Freed

Navigating High School Romance: Teachers Share Their Wisdom

Whether in a relationship, romanticizing a hallway crush, or happily (or unhappily) single, most high school students could use some relationship advice.

While teenagers gravitate towards asking their friends for advice, they would benefit immensely from a mature and experienced point of view. Walls teachers are here to offer wisdom on the possibilities and pitfalls of high school romance.

Starting a relationship

Students can be nervous to branch out and explore options when it comes to dating. Statistics teacher Pedro Zara shared some wisdom imparted to him by his older brother. “If someone asks you out, you can just say yes, because you have nothing to lose. And, worst case scenario, it’s not that interesting [of] a date ... If it doesn’t work out, you may find a friend.”

Balancing relationships with life

Many students struggle to split their time between their partner and other commitments such as school, extracurriculars, or friendships. Math teacher Kristen Kelly recognises that often students can get “too bogged down with [relationships].”

Ms. Kelly said, “you think this is like some deep, serious, intense thing and then you’re all emotional and you can’t focus and your friends have to console you and it becomes a whole thing. Nobody wants to deal with that.”

She recommends creating some separation, “don’t do everything together, have some of your own activities.” She emphasizes that the point of a relationship is to “enhance your time not hurt [it].”

Science teacher Arthur Klawender recognized the time investment dilemma, but said it should not be a reason to not pursue relationships. “I mean, if we want to make it statistical, it’s another time commitment. But a pretty big part of being a person is being with someone or finding someone. I think that’s as important as the other things.”


PDA remains a controversial issue, especially in a school environment. History teacher Victoria Tyson said “I often think PDA might be a sign of insecurity you have in your relationship. So it depends on the reason why.”

Ms. Tyson also noted how PDA, which makes a relationship publicly obvious, could create awkwardness within a closed social environment in the event of a break up. “This is a really small school, and savvy people think, ‘suppose this comes to an end at this really small school.’”

Ms. Kelly had a simple request: “I don’t want to see you sitting on anyone’s lap.”

Dates, anniversaries, and holidays

Students stress over the expectations of Valentine’s Day, birthdays, and anniversaries but according to teachers, it’s not that deep.

“A fancy dinner in DC, would be what? 200 to 300 dollars. That’s not high school stuff,” said Mr. Klawender, “Nobody has any money, just do something sweet.”

Ms. Kelly also noted that flashy celebrations and presents do not ensure a flourishing relationship. “You should be appreciated every day, not on one day,” she said. Break-Ups Mr. Zara emphasized the importance of giving grace to yourself and your partner to change and grow up, “Part of it is understanding that any high schooler doesn’t exactly know who they are yet. Understanding that whoever you’re with may change a fair amount as you’re with them,” he said.

In that regard, change can lead to problems in a relationship. Mr. Zara suggests students should recognize that “things going bad is not your fault,” since everyone is still growing.

Mr. Zara noted that high school is a good time “to just figure out what you’re looking for and what kind of people you like or don’t like,” — not find a long term partner.

Ms. Tyson also added that it’s important to be gracious to your ex, “Never talk negatively about your ex, because that only makes you look bad. And then when you get back together, as often happens in high school, you’re embarrassed.”

Have fun!

The one sentiment teachers agreed upon was the importance of having fun and learning about yourself. “

Fin[d] someone you have fun with,” Mr. Klawender suggested. “I’m assuming that would mean you have things in common and you like each other.”

Ms. Kelly’s keystone advice is to “realize you’re in high school ... you still have to remember you have things to learn so it should be fun. Like why would it be heavy? It should be fun.”

At the end of the day it is important to remember that no one is perfect, especially in high school. Ms. Kelly admitted she went against her own advice when she was younger and “was terrible at dating in high school.”

And if you have yet to be in a relationship or are currently single, Mr. Klawander reminds everyone not to stress because “there’ll be time later on.”


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