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_zen_'s avatar

Teachers; do you have favourite students, do you favour them?

Asked by _zen_ (7804 points ) June 27th, 2011

It’s difficult not to, I know; we’re only human.

Have any cases or examples?

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8 Answers

linguaphile's avatar

inching out onto the limb, looking around cautiously

Judi's avatar

I always hated when teachers didn’t realize that their “pets” were really the bullies.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Both of my sisters have been public school teachers for years. I spent almost 10 years teaching adults about hotel management. Yes, we have had our favorite students. For me, they were the ones who truly desired to learn the subject(s), asked questions, and weren’t afraid to challenge me on a topic while doing so respectfully.

Did we show favoritism in class? No…at least I hope not. We had the benefit of being brought up by parents that did not show favoritism towards any of their children. I watched both sisters raise their children using the same template as our parents did. No child, or student, for that matter, was treated the same way in all cases. What works for one doesn’t always work for another, so the guidance gets customized. Maybe this is why students or children get labeled the ‘favorite’.

Note: The older sister, a high school English teacher, died several years ago. The turnout for her memorial service was overwhelming considering it is a small town. Many of the attendees were her present and former students. One group of them made a CD for her when she was bed-ridden. They sang their favorite songs and recited bits of their favorite literature or something they had written. Before the service, one of her former students asked if he could be included as a speaker. And he was.

Porifera's avatar

I do have students that I like more than the rest. Do I favor them? It depends what you call favor. I sometimes grade them with a light hand or accept papers after the due date. Do I give them a passing grade if they don’t deserve it? No, definitely not. I try to be as objective as possible with everyone, but it is very difficult. As you say, we are only human and we get along better with some students than with others. Also, some students make your life easier and accomplish a lot during the course, participate in class and get involved in discussions and activities, which makes your class preparation worth the while. Some students are difficult to deal with because they have a very negative attitude and bring negative vibes to the classrrom, so it is extremely hard to treat them all equal.

linguaphile's avatar

Yes, I do have favorites… but it’s much like what @Porifera said. They’re not my favorites for any reason except they’re interested in class and come into my room curious about information. Some of my biggest “favorites” were the worst when it came to turning in papers or doing any actual pen-paper work, but had the most wonderful contributions to class discussions. I also have favorites for different reasons… this student I might enjoy for their ability to see many different perspectives, this student because of her perseverance, this student because she really, really improved over the past year, this one because he’s one stubborn independent thinker and works really hard to support his perspective, this one that didn’t give up on trying to pass a standardized test, this one because he will not give up on a discussion until he’s satisfied with the outcome whether he won or lost, this one because he just contributes positivity and happiness to class—but altogether what do they have in common? Interest in learning and participating in their learning process. It’s almost like I have too many favorites for it to really make much difference.
I understand what @Judi‘s saying and I agree—some teachers really like the bullies because they’re the best at making themselves look sweet to the adults, but I feel like I can see through those kids and I really get turned off by cruelty. I try not to treat them any different, but they’re not my “favorites,” even if they’re excellent students because I know what they’re doing to others. I had the pleasure of becoming one of those bullies’ target… she got bored with making her peers miserable and decided she wanted to see if she could get me fired, for fun. Now that was a heck of a year.
The students that really get on my nerves are the ones who come in with the attitude of “You Have Nothing To Teach Me,” sit with their arms crossed an glower for 60 minutes at a time, or their counterparts that disrupt class for shits an giggles. It’s usually those kids who complain about favoritism, but don’t do anything to contribute to their own education and that does feel like a Catch-22…
I agree with @Pied_Pfeffer, you can’t treat every single kid the same, but I do make every effort to treat kids with equal respect—as long as they show respect back. Often the ones that are my true favorites are not the ones that think they are.

Porifera's avatar

@linguaphile I enjoyed reading your entry, very insightful! I agree with all you said 100% :)

SavoirFaire's avatar

Yes, I have favorites. Usually, you can’t tell. In fact, a lot of students probably think I dislike my favorites because I push back more when arguing with them (note: I teach philosophy; they’re supposed to argue with me). The one exception is a girl who takes all of my classes and stays after most days to talk more. We’re probably too familiar with one another for others not to notice if they’re looking for it. If I favor her, it’s because she’s good. She almost always has something that’s worth having the whole class hear. Other people in my department share my assessment, however, so I’m confident that I am not giving her any undeserved grades.

Schroedes13's avatar

I would also say that many teachers have favourites, but I do know they treat others sometimes differently. I knew a friend who was a great guy, excellent athelete, all around gentleman. But he wasn’t always the brightest student. However, all the teachers knew that he tried so hard. He would often go to them multiple times a week for tutoring and after school lessons. All of us knew that his grades were inflated slightly, but we also knew that he worked his butt off to show the teachers that he was trying his best. As opposed to some students like myself who would pull of 85% without really trying….I always hated the report card note….“shows no real motivation”. Why should I have been motivated when I was getting awesome grades already?

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