Teachers are social creatures like everybody else and gravitate towards other people based on various factors. It’s no surprise some teachers may have favorites in their classrooms or even outside their own classrooms.
While this may be normal in many social environments, it’s the responsibility of a teacher to try to be fair with all their students irrespective of their personal or individual biases towards any students in the school.
Do Teachers Have Favorites
Yes. Although relative to the individual teacher, intelligent and/or friendly students, students who actively participate in class activities including asking questions, students who work hard, students who attempt to be closer to the teacher, sense of humor, and students who go beyond what is taught in class are most times among the teacher’s favorite.
Teachers are social creatures like everyone else and they spend a majority of their days inside school environments. Although teachers make friends with other teachers, they’re also likely to grow fond of some of their students especially since students make the majority of people on school grounds.
They also have the responsibility of identifying any possible challenges their students may be going through to better support them. Getting to know the weaknesses of students, the challenges that may be affecting their grades, their behavior, and even their relationship with other students.
While having favorites is harmless showing favoritism to a student can come with negative consequences for the student, other students, and the teacher. Teachers are role models to their students and any show of favoritism towards any particular student or students can damage the confidence of the other students.
Why Do Teachers Have Favorites
There’s been a question debated by parents and children for some time with no definitive answer. The simple question of whether parents have favorites. And while most parents claim they do not have favorites the truth is never that simple.
The same thing applies to teachers and favoritism. Most teachers claim they have no favorites and treat all students equally. Unfortunately, the truth, in this case, isn’t as simple either.
Teachers spend the majority of their time in school and classrooms with students. It’s not surprising that they may have favorites among the students they interact with daily.
The key takeaway here is that while some teachers may have favorites in class, it doesn’t mean they play favoritism. Certain qualities in some students sometimes make it easier for teachers to like them more out of the rest of their students.
To put it simply, teachers like everyone else can become fond of others based on certain qualities in the people they meet including their students resulting in favorite students.
Some teachers simply like hard-working students. Some academic concepts are difficult to understand and teachers understand that students have varying absorption rates.
However, most teachers appreciate students who put in the extra effort to understand by contacting them for further explanation and even trying to schedule a tutorial session.
Imagine spending sleepless nights putting together a detailed lesson for your students only to come to class and have a particular student or some students refuse to pay attention to the lecture content.
I once taught abroad at a school in a very remote area which I won’t mention in this article. There was a student in the class who would bring phones to class, and even try playing music while I was teaching in class.
Unfortunately, the school was tired of this student and simply wanted him to leave, so they kept promoting him even though he failed every class. He wouldn’t adhere to the rules of the institution and the school couldn’t punish him as they’d tried everything except expulsion which they didn’t want to do.
This student’s deviant behavior became infectious as other students also started misbehaving in the class. Like the first student, the teachers had given up on the class and didn’t care what the students did. They simply came taught those who would listen and left.
While my stay in that school lasted only 3 months as a temporary teacher, I was appalled at this behavior but everything I tried to do to help within the limited time spent there didn’t seem to be effective. Things were that bad to the extent the student even attempted to stab me with a knife he had. Yes. He had brought a knife to school.
In such a situation I reflexively developed a liking to the handful of students in the class who paid attention in class. While this may not be the situation for each teacher, it’s understandable that a teacher may have favorites in such a classroom.
A student simply displaying an act of kindness to another student can lead to a teacher liking them a lot more. A typical example is a student standing up to a bully to defend another student being bullied. Any teacher witnessing such an act may have a higher perception of such a student.
Respecting your teachers is a no-brainer are expected to be respectful to teachers even outside the academic environment. A typical example is a student addressing a teacher by their first name or even greeting them. Some teachers admire students who are respectful towards their seniors especially since some students can be very rude and disrespectful to their teachers.
Interest In Teacher
Teachers may like students who show an interest in their lives and like to be around to talk to them.
Having a familiar face in a class is nothing new especially when you’re teaching at the community in which you’re resident or have been raised. A student may instantly become a teacher’s favorite as a result of an already existing relationship between the teacher and the student’s family outside the classroom.
Negative Effects Of Teacher Favoritism
Inequality Affects Students Success
Favoritism in the classroom can be seen as unfair to other students can also negatively impact the academic progress of the favored student
Students considered to be teachers’ pets can sometimes be bullied by other students as a result. Other students may resent and become hostile towards these students.
The relationship between teachers and other students who aren’t favored could be negatively impacted. Teacher’s reputation in the eyes of the students could be affected as they develop negative attitudes towards the teacher
Other students may lose respect for the teacher especially if they provide their favorite students with favors and other perks
Students who are not favored by the teacher may develop a negative perception of themselves. A typical example is a teacher favoring the brilliant students in their class. Other students may see this as a negative judgment on their ability and may withdraw or act out.
Students who are favored by their teachers may develop a sense of entitlement with other teachers and even at home. Students who aren’t favored may internalize the perceived teacher’s negative impression.
How To Deal With Teacher Favoritism
Understand The Relationship
The first step would be to understand the relationship between the teacher and the student. In some cases, it may be that the teacher has a close relationship with the student’s family outside school. You can do this by subtly asking the student in a non-intrusive way.
While there may not be a strategically outlined way of dealing with teacher favoritism, it’s still possible to address it directly by confronting the teacher with evidence if available. A teacher may not realize this and would appreciate you privately bringing it to their attention.
Are Teachers Allowed To Have Favorites
While some argue against teachers having favorites, it seems inevitable as it’s impossible to like every student in your class equally including the disruptive ones.
Although it may be inevitable that teachers would have a favorite student or favorite students, teachers should ensure that they show no favoritism towards these students.