Teacher favoritism harms class dynamic


By Alec Fanaroff, Online Opinions Editor

When I was in fifth grade, my math teacher would reward students who participated in class with a piece of candy for a correct answer.  Day after day, my little hand went up and I proudly announced the correct answer.  Day after day, I never got a piece of candy.  To the best of my memory, every student in the room got candy, some even multiple times, but I never got the loot.

Hold a grudge much?  Yes, big grudge, and it has made me aware that most teachers clearly favor some students and clearly dislike others.

Let’s be honest: favoritism exists.  There’s no denying it, everyone sees it every day, especially in the classrooms.  On one hand, teachers are human.  It is natural to not like everyone that one meets and some personalities just do not gel with others.  However, human nature cannot excuse blatant favoritism because it leads to unfair grading and unequal treatment of students.

One classic example of favoritism is the good old due date extension.  Many teachers extend the due dates of assignments for their favorite students, or rather the ones who kiss up the most.

There are two syndromes students show when they are trying to find a way to a teacher’s heart.  There is the Martha Stewart Syndrome – the giving of food to teachers. Brownie points, let me assure you, do in fact exist. There is also the Overeager Student Syndrome – the willingness of a student to pass out papers and do other various labor intensive teacher tasks.

Teacher favoritism hurts those poor unfortunate souls out there, who are no Betty Crocker when it comes to the kitchen. This is not to say that kids get bad grades because they do not do certain things to become favorites; instead, kids who might actually deserve bad grades sometimes receive higher grades based on how well they can alphabetically sort a stack of 150 papers for a teacher.

We have all seen examples of teacher favoritism, the list goes on and on. The students who work the hardest deserve the best grades, not the ones who can best play the role of teacher’s pet.

On a personal note, I do not think that I have ever been lucky enough to be a favorite, but if any of my current teachers like me a lot, I have one request: could I have some candy?