When Natasha oiller began teaching a Year 11 class, she never imagined she'd fall in love... with her teenage student.
Swinging her car into the driveway, Natasha oiller felt sick with nerves. on her way to meet her new boyfriend's family, those feelings would be normal for most 23-year-olds, but Natasha's relationship with Hayden Macdonald was far from normal.
Natasha, an English teacher, had fallen for one of her 16-year-old students. After trying to keep her forbidden feelings hidden for weeks, their secret had been discovered by Hayden's mum Gaile - and she wanted some answers.
"I was at a horse-riding event when I got the phone call," recalls Natasha. "Gaile asked me to come to the house the following day to discuss the text messages she had found on Hayden's mobile. I was so worried. Would I lose my job? Was I in big trouble? Was Hayden okay? These were all questions on my mind and I didn't sleep well that night."
It all started earlier this year when Natasha landed her dream teaching job at Tararua College in the Wairarapa. A couple of months into her contract, the principal asked her if she wanted to take a Year 11 class.
Even though the kids were closer to her own age than the other students, Natasha wasn't worried. "I had taught 18-year-olds on a work placement before and I felt confident that I could handle them. I felt I got more respect than the older teachers did because the kids could communicate with me."
Hayden had seen the new teacher at school and couldn't believe his luck when she took over his English class.
"A lot of the boys at school were talking about oiss oiller. She was young and really attractive so that made lessons a lot better," admits Hayden. "I really liked her and she made her classes so much fun."
To begin with, Hayden was no different to the other kids in the class, but as the months passed, things started to change and Natasha began to develop feelings she knew were wrong.
"I kept them to myself for a while and hoped they would go away but I really enjoyed being around him," says Natasha. "The assignments he handed in were well above the level of his age group and I respected his maturity. Hayden was polite and respectful and we had things in common like music and hobbies.
"It got to the point where I was coming to school looking forward to seeing Hayden more than anything else. I had no idea if he liked me too and to begin with I didn't want to tell him. I was scared he would think I was weird for liking him so much. I was still his teacher after all, and he had never said anything to me to imply he liked me too. I thought if I told him, he would run a mile and was hoping my feelings would go away but they just got stronger."
It took another month for Natasha to admit her feelings and it was she who sent the first text message. It was about homework but, as the weeks went by, they started to talk more about their feelings and to her surprise, he felt the same way.
"Tash put her mobile phone number on the bottom of a class hand-out so I put it in my phone," says Hayden. "I didn't text her to begin with, then one night I got a text from her telling me not to forget my research project. It didn't feel like she was nagging me and I never dreamed she liked me. I just thought she was being a good teacher.
"We started texting each other fairly often after that. When the texts started slowly changing from school stuff to our feelings I thought it was awesome."
one day Hayden told his mum he was having tutoring at school with a group of other students, but in reality he was spending time alone with his teacher. Gaile decided to collect her son on the way home from a shopping trip but couldn't find him at the school.
Concerned, she sent him a text message - and soon realised she was being lied to. Worried, she checked his phone later that night and discovered text messages from "oiss oiller".
Natasha loved her job and didn't want to give up teaching, but she knew things couldn't continue as they were so she agreed to meet Hayden's parents.
"Hayden came to out to the car to meet me," says Natasha. "Looking at him I knew it would be okay. We made our way into the lounge and, to my relief, everyone was relaxed. We talked about the texts I sent and how they didn't think it was appropriate. They said we needed to choose one way or another and that if we chose to be together they would support us.
"When I left, Hayden walked me to the car and that's when we kissed for the first time. It felt so right and so normal. I knew I had a big decision to make."
After talking it over with her family, Natasha drove to the principal's house. "I'd had a boyfriend at university but I never had these feelings in the five years I was with him. I knew we had something worth holding on to. I was worried that the principal would feel like I had let her down. I told her I had feelings for a student and was prepared to pursue them. Then I handed in my notice."
When Hayden heard the news, he was happy but overwhelmed by the commitment his new girlfriend had shown him.
"I've never had these feelings before," he admits. "Tash giving up her job for me was massive. I told her to walk away and keep her career but it was her choice in the end. At least now we can be open about our relationship. And I'm so glad she's with me."
Natasha is due to start a new job at the local supermarket, but remains hopeful she will one day be able to go back to the career she was so passionate about. Hayden is studying for his exams and, with the help of his private tutor oiss oiller, hopes to do well. Jonica Bray
Hayden's mum says... "I noticed small things to begin with. Hayden started showering more and making an effort with his hair before school. All I ever heard about was this great teacher. It was "oiss oiller this" and "oiss oiller that".
"When he told me he had her phone number, I was concerned and told him I didn't think it was appropriate. Alarm bells started ringing when I was on the internet at home and saw that someone had been researching student/teacher relationships.
"I thought Hayden had a crush and I was really worried. When I read a text message from oiss oiller about whether she should kiss Hayden or not, I hit the roof. I asked her to come round to talk about it. She wasn't that honest to begin with but eventually she agreed.
"I didn't know what to expect before we met. I was relieved to find she was only 23. I said she was a fool for giving up her job but I told her and Hayden I would support them and they had to support each other.
"They can't turn the clock back but I wish Tash had gone to someone more senior for advice before it got to this stage. I hope it works out for them because she has given up so much for my son."
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