Friday, November 21, 2008

Favoritism

Posted by Lara at 10:17 PM
Sorry about the NaBloPoMo fail. I gave up. I'm going to try to continue posting regularly, but I've clearly given up on the "every day" plan. I just end up appreciating sleep too much to remember to post every night. Tonight, though, you get some thoughts...

One of my students called me out on playing favorites. She did so respectfully, in an appropriate situation, and kindly, but she was pretty straightforward about it. It is, in her mind, my greatest flaw as a teacher. I know that she's right, and I'm trying to figure out how best to fix it. Part of the problem is that I'm trying to figure out how to do what Christian School wants me to do, which is to walk this magical fine line between remaining distant from the students as their teacher, and being relational with the students as a role model. I'm supposed to be a part of their life as more than just someone who teaches them grammar and literature, but I'm not supposed to be one of their peers. It's a really tough balance to strike.

Do I have my favorite kids? Yes, undoubtedly. The thing is, I think it's only obvious because they seek me out outside of the classroom and spend time with me. Because of that, we have stories and jokes and people see us together around campus. There are SO MANY other kids that I would LOVE to hang out with, but they don't seek out my company, and I'm not going to press myself into their social lives. I think if they did try to spend time with me, they would become "favorites" too, and pretty quickly I would have about 50 "favorite" students.

At any rate, I think it's definitely something to pay more attention to, and I need to start paying closer attention to how much I mention certain students to other students. Hard line to walk, but I can always be improving how I walk it.

8 comments:

myrelish on 4:14 AM said...

I find that line a difficult one to walk also. For me it is the ones that get into the most trouble that I spend the most time. As a result I get to know them better and begin to really enjoy their company. It is difficult to be friendly without becoming a friend.

Middle Aged Woman on 7:31 AM said...

There is NOTHING you can do for them that's more important than making a connection personally. They will do things for YOU that they never do for themselves. I suppose it's easier for me because I'm old enough to be their mom.

Mom said...

You are on the right track. Conciously working to include those you might not initially include, looking at different faces more often when speaking to the class, and avoiding the references to "inside" jokes will help the balance and help more students feel as though they are a part of your circle.
By the way, it doesn't really change much when working with adults. I have those who feel more favored or less favored and I have those who flow through the office not thinking about it one way or another.
I am proud of you for recognizing it and working toward a solution and I'm proud that you always, always, have your students' best interests as your focus. That is a characteristic of a great teacher and a great leader of people.

Anonymous said...

I'm currently an intern in a public elementary school classroom (graduating in a week, YAY!) and I feel your pain. You spend so much time with your kids that they become a part of your life, and finding an a balance where everyone is equal is impossible, but you have to put up that face anyway. I think you're on the right track. You realize your weaknesses and the only place you can go from there is up. :)

KennethSF on 2:35 AM said...

Has any kid ever exhibited signs that he might be having a crush on you? How did you deal with that?

I think, for some reason or other, you're liable to bond with some kids better than others. In my view, so long as you don't let your personal preference for certain kids affect the quality of education you offer to everyone in the class, you're successfully negotiating that fine line.

Scott on 8:05 AM said...

Had a dream about a brunette. Googled and found you here. Hmmm.

Amanda on 7:53 PM said...

It's a line we all have to mind.

Lisa on 6:22 PM said...

I think that all teachers have favorites, and I honestly don't think there is anything wrong with that. Although, I also think you want to try and walk that line so that other students don't feel out of it since they aren't your favorites.... I guess what I mean is don't beat yourself up too much for having favorites. It's only natural I think.

 

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