This really isn't an easy question to answer.
One thing that comes to mind though is, is this really an innocent idea to clear things up between you? Do you know if she's single or not? If not, and you knew she was very happily married and settled with children, would you be so keen to open up your heart to her, knowing nothing would ever come of it?
It seems that she, or what she represents to you, means a lot to you. But unless you know she's single, available and that there's a possibility something could happen between you, it's likely she doesn't feel anything like the same for you. You could stand out from a crowd to her, or, you could be another face, another ex-student, another near stranger.
What I'm trying to say is, unless you see yourselves connecting over telling her the truth either as friends or more, it may not be wise to tell her. She may barely think about what's happened between you as an issue or an occassion, and a letter of confession completely out of the blue, and something she wouldn't know what to do with.
Perhaps if you feel you need to let it off your chest, tell someone else if you haven't already? Making it less of a deep secret if it is that could help you move on.
And if ultimately you feel you need to say something to her, perhaps send her an email to apologise if you seemed rude, and say you just mentally connected her with some issues you'd had in school, and see how encouraging her reply is before you give too much detail.
Yes, this is a really tough situation; crushes can be incredibly painful. I'm giving you a response from the perspective of a young teacher. (Who's also had same-sex crushes on teachers as a student.)
As SilkenDoll said, if you were to write anything, it should be no more than a short note (I'd write it by hand) apologizing for a negative reaction in the past, that it wasn't anything bad that she had done and that you hope she doesn't feel guilty or bad for it. And leave it at that.
She is --most likely-- bound by a code of ethics as a teacher that would prevent her from reciprocating your feelings even if she were attracted/interested/available. (Plus the threat of quite surely losing her job.) Sure, teachers might notice, "hey, s/he is good-looking or has a nice personality" but leave it at that, pushing anything else out of their minds for ethical reasons. (Not to mention that the maturity level and experience of an adult out in the working world for a number of years is way different from one of even an extremely mature high school student. And I don't mean this patronizingly.) It would put her in a very awkward position professionally and personally.
If you were post-college age and happened to run into her again, or if she were the instructor of a community education class (and you were out of high school), I'd say maybe. But in this situation, I'm sorry, keeping in your true feelings is the only way to go.
[This message has been edited by Ecofem (edited 02-19-2006).]
I'm grateful to both of you for taking the time to read and reply to my post (which I have edited down to nothingness only because I have already heard what I needed to hear, and feel vulnerable and foolish having my lengthy, somewhat embarrassing rant just sort of loafing around on the board.) I realize, now, that randomly pouring my heart out to her would likely ignite more conflict, misunderstanding, and mutual discomfort than it would ever alleviate, especially when I'm uncertain that this entire situation has ever been ABOUT her, as she truly is; I think the whole thing got blown way, way out of proportion in my head, and she simply came to emblemize my struggle to define and become comfortable with myself. If it all hadn't been so maddeningly aggravating, bewildering, and painful, I doubt I would have learned so much from it.
At any rate, thanks for the reality check, and thanks for stopping me from making an idiot of myself, haha.
No need to feel foolish, vulnerable or embarassed for posting your question. It was a tough question that was good to get out: When we're so close to a situation, it's not usually until we take a few steps back or write it out before we realize it could be ill-advised, dangerous or just not a good idea. The boards are pretty darn anonymous, and no one's going to judge you here; in fact, people would most likely think, "Hey, I know what she's talking about because I felt the same way once, too. I hope she's doing ok."
Personally, I'm really, really glad to hear that you have come to terms with your sexual orientation. Questioning can be such personal torture at first, but when you get the point where it's like, "OK, I'm this/that/I-still-have-no-clue and it's perfectly fine." that is a pretty great feeling of accomplishment!
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