My teacher was just 15 years older than me, but he was married with three children. Another married head of department got through three pupils during their sixth-form years; another was having an affair with one of my closest friends.
To this day the way our self-esteem subsequently suffered as a result of these men occupies much of our conversation.
Another female pupil was ostracised for a relationship with the same teacher with whom my friend was involved, but he managed to lie his way out of the situation by flatly denying it had happened.
Because he was a teacher and she was a young girl, the school authorities believed him and he held on to his job. She was castigated and at the age of 16, utterly distraught, she left school.
Mine, I know now, was a deeply unhealthy relationship with a man who had severe problems with women, but it took me many years to realise that.
Indeed, the intensity of my feelings was such that I went to university in Cardiff, 20 miles up the road, just to be able to come home and baby-sit for him at the drop of a hat and see him for ten minutes at the end of the evening when he took me home.
But then, seven and a half years after it had started, it was over. Then in a teaching job, I went home to baby-sit for him (from Oxfordshire, for God's sake) and he dropped me off with just a 'Night, then'.
That was his way of telling me it was all over: I realised that I had wasted the most formative years of my life and had fallen in love with a man who had no intention of ever repaying it.
Two months later, I had a call from my mother (who knew nothing of my relationship) to say that Jim's wife had been killed in a car crash. I was devastated to lose someone whose friendship, despite the circumstances, had become very important to me; and, of course, I felt guilty beyond belief.
I was also terrified - because he was free. Was this what I really wanted? Was Jim the right person for me?
He sent me a card, implying that we should get together, and I went to his house to see him.
His wife had not yet been buried, yet he came on to me. Appalled, I was unresponsive and, as on our first encounter, his reaction was of the 'What's wrong with you?' kind.
I also discovered that he was now seeing another pupil; I met her going to his house as I was coming away in a Lawrentian kind of moment on Coity Common. I felt sick. He is now married to her.
I knew, and know, that the relationship would never have worked. I was ambitious; he stayed in the same job, retired from it, and still lives in the same house in the same small-minded town.
I learned from other teachers and pupils that throughout the rest of his career the classroom innuendo never stopped; neither did the advances towards girls.
Years later, when he was living with the pupil to whom he is now married, I had a call from another girl who was then a pupil at the same school, who had been given my name by someone locally because I'd been through the same thing.
She was desperate for my advice because, she said, she had become involved with Jim. I was later told that she had a breakdown as a result of his treatment of her.
I know that relationships between teachers and pupils can work; some teachers drawn to pupils are not married, and many do not begin sexual relationships until after the pupil has left school.
But there are many married teachers out there whose predatory nature sets them upon pupils who are easy targets, and this makes young, vulnerable girls attractive prey.
Do I regret the years with Jim? Yes and no. He got me through a difficult time of my life, and parts of it were fun. But the legacy was low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, helplessness and an inability to change my life, in particular with regard to men.
And now? I am not married and have never lived with anyone; I have no children. But I love my life. Don't make the mistake i did
· 1 decade ago