There are a lot of educators in romance novels. They could be grade school teachers or college professors or instructors of another nature. Their role as a teacher could take center stage in the story, or it might be that it’s more of a central element of their personality, but the classroom isn’t as important in the romance. Either way, there is something about teachers and other educators falling in love that sets these stories apart from ones that don’t center weird, passionate people who have very specific interests in the future of education, their topics of study, and the people they get to work with every day.
One romantic pairing that has been a point of conflict and contention for romance readers and people who engage with media across the board is the idea of the student/teacher relationship. While I never want to yuck yums, as someone who has worked in a high school and done instruction at other levels, those are usually hard limits for me, with some exceptions — they’re both consenting adults and there are no power dynamic issues. In other words: the educator is not in charge of the student’s grades or ability to graduate; they’re in a private or group lessons kind of situation, like dance or martial arts; or maybe they met before they realized their predicament or waited until after…but even in that kind of situation, the way they approach it will make or break my ability to continue.
If you feel a similar way, I’ve got some books for you! In these romances, you can enjoy the passion (and problems) of education and being an educator without having to decide if you’re going to ignore your moral compass for a bit.
And I’ve broken them into handy categories.
Teacher Romance Reads
My Kid’s Teacher
Grumpy Jake by Melissa Blue
Kindergarten teacher Bailey has heard a lot about Grumpy Jake — or Jake the Rake, as the other teachers at the school call him. She adores his kid, but the dad leaves a bit to be desired. They’re perfectly happy to have as little communication as possible…until they get stuck in an elevator together (y’all KNOW how much I love it when they get stuck in elevators; blame it on Tom Hanks…or something). Then Bailey starts to see Jake’s appeal, and they start to grow on each other. This is a relatively angst-free novella, but don’t expect free flying.
His Perfect Partner by Priscilla Oliveras
The first in the Matched to Perfection trilogy, His Perfect Partner introduces us to Tomas and Yazmine. Tomas has an adorable daughter who loves to dance, and Yazmine is her teacher — and adores the little girl like her own. Yas and Tomas get off on the wrong foot, in part because of Tomas’s problem with working all the time. But as the two get to know each other, they grow closer and closer.
It Takes Two To Tumble by Cat Sebastian
Ben isn’t technically a teacher, but someone has to take control of the hellions driving away caretakers in the home of the absent Captain Phillip. So the young vicar takes the opportunity to visit the children regularly, often taking charge of their lessons on top of just keeping them from running wild. And when the stolid Captain returns from sea, well. You’ve seen The Sound of Music.
Roll Bounce Love by Kay Shanee
Aubrielle is done with relationships. After the way her last one ended, she’s happy to build a new start in a new city with a new job teaching dance (yes, another one). One thing she used to love but has spent a long time away from is roller skating, and when a new Black-owned rink opens up in the area, she can’t resist. She meets Rashaad on the boards, and they have an instant connection. But imagine both of their surprise when Rashaad comes to pick up his kid from her dance class!
A Teacher Where I Work (or We’re Teachers Together)
Teach Me by Olivia Dade
Two teachers in their 40s have to figure out how to work together. This is particularly difficult when the new Martin was given Rose’s favorite classes, because asshole administrator. But it’s very hard for Rose to not like the friendly, quiet man, and he’s definitely interested in getting to know her better. Maybe some after-hours teacher work can get them some much needed time together.
Touch Me by Alexandria House
Artist in Residence Jovani Higgs is in town to complete his work and maybe find time to confront his father, who he’s never known. Sharla, who has had a long-standing crush on the elder Higgs, has also been dreaming about a man — a man who very much resembles the new artist in residence. When the pair come together, there is an intense chemistry, but each has their own baggage to deal with before being able to be fully ready for a partnership. PLEASE NOTE: This book features the aftermath of a violent attack of a protagonist.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Dani Brown is working on her PhD, which means she’s also low-paid labor for her department. She and security guard Zaf share friendship and maybe a little bit of flirtation whenever she comes to his building to teach a class. But when she gets stuck in an elevator (and not the good kind…is there a good kind of stuck in an elevator?) and his rescue goes viral, the pair agree to a fake dating scheme that will benefit them both. But where do you draw the line?
Office Hours by Katrina Jackson
Tenure track professor Deja doesn’t have a personal life. She works, and works, and works. But there is one benefit to all that work, and his name is Alejandro Mendoza. After spending so long admiring him from afar, she never expected he might similarly carry a torch for her. This soft, low-ish angst novel is all about two people figuring out how to deal with life and let themselves be happy.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
When Olive grabs the first person she sees late at night and asks if she can kiss them, the last person she expects to pull away from is the most feared researcher in the building. But when she explains her reasoning, and ends up in a similar situation only days later, he surprisingly agrees to fake date her. As she gets to know Adam (yes, his name is Adam), she can’t help but wonder what he could be getting out of all this. Some readers might consider this a little too close to student/teacher, since the relationship is between a graduate student and a professor in her department. But in this situation, they work in completely different disciplines and he’s never in charge of her grades, advancement, or paid work.
They’re Just a Teacher I Know
Rebel by Beverly Jenkins
The first in the Women Who Dare series, Rebel introduces us to Valinda Lacey, who has come to New Orleans in the aftermath of the American Civil War in order to start a school for the recently emancipated — and anyone else of the race who might want to learn. An attack on the school and her person don’t deter her from her goals, especially with the help of Captain Drake LeVeq, who not only saves her from the racists who threaten her life and livelihood, but also offers her a future she could never have imagined.
Then There Was You by Mona Shroff
Kindergarten teacher Annika loves her job, even if her parents don’t understand why she abandoned a more lucrative potential career. When helicopter medic and ER nurse Daniel starts to frequent the bar where she works part time, they slowly develop a friendship. But what Annika doesn’t know is that Daniel was with her on one of the worst nights of her life, when she had the miscarriage that also ended her last relationship. PLEASE NOTE: This book references a past school shooting.
Stripped by Zoey Castile
Robyn is a teacher. She is also A Hot Mess. When she gets the wrong laundry bag one day, though, her life takes a turn. The man whose laundry she received instead is gorgeous, and gracious, and just plain nice. She doesn’t ask about the star spangled thong that gave away that she had the wrong bag of clean laundry. But she does see him again — dancing for her and her friends at a bachelorette party. After a bit of a spooking on both sides, Robyn and Fallon fall into something a little more comfortable. Fallon is pretty sure his neighbor is out of his league, but he’s not going to let that stop him from pursuing what could be the love of his life.
Sing Anyway by Anita Kelly
Nonbinary history professor Sam loves karaoke. Maybe not actually performing, but going to karaoke night at a favorite bar with their friends and enjoying the atmosphere. When their friends all abandon them one night, they find themself hanging in a corner, admiring Lily, the woman who always brings joy to their karaoke experience. And then, it happens: she comes to talk to them, and something begins that Sam never dreamed of. But what happens when the night is over?
American Love Story by Adriana Herrera
What happens when an activist and an ADA can’t get enough of each other? Something interesting, that’s for sure. College professor Patrice and Assistant District Attorney Easton have history and chemistry — and I’m not talking about the school subjects. But the two find themselves in positions of contention between the activists fighting excessive targeting of people of color and the law enforcement doing the targeting, and neither is sure how to move forward, especially not together.
I love a good story about teachers, but obviously haven’t read them all. There are some I wanted to add, but haven’t *ahem* actually gotten around to reading them yet, like Charish Reid’s (Trust) Falling For You, The Sweetest Charade by Jadesola James, and The One You Can’t Forget by Roni Loren. And there are plenty that I haven’t heard of at all. So if you have a favorite teacher story, I want to hear about it! Hit me up with your recs on Twitter or Instagram.