By Meghan Reynolds
Favoritism. We’ve all seen it, or received it one way or another. Some say it’s unfair, some say it’s inevitable, but what does favoritism have to do with our school?
Remember when you were a kid and you had a toy you always favored over the other? Maybe even now, you like to choose, say your pink hat, over your purple hat. Congratulations, you have demonstrated favoritism. Now that we have that out of the way, how can favoritism be applied to school?
Well, believe it or not, it’s always there. Of course, whenever you bring it up you’re normally told that you’re, ‘overthinking it’, or, ‘being a poor sport’, but it’s not such a farfetched idea. Think about it, teachers are encouraged to treat every and all students fairly, but could you treat that bratty kid in the back the same way as the funny girl in the front?
After consulting with Mr. Freeman, a geometry teacher, I learned that favoritism isn’t easily cut out of a teacher’s mind. In fact, it’s “impossible” to completely get rid of. Mr. Freeman gave me a scenario: “If there’s a student that turns in most, or all, of their assignments completely finished, and then one day they turn in a sub-par assignment. I’d probably consider it much more favorably than say, the student who consistently turns in work of low quality.”
When you put it in that perspective, favoritism isn’t such a bad thing, as Mr. Freeman says, “It’s human nature.” However, Mr. Green has a slightly different perspective.
Mr. Green, one of the technology site coordinators, has a son that attends Poston Butte. I asked him if he would ever let him off the hook due to him being of flesh and blood. The answer was riveting.
“If he ever cracked the screen of a computer, he’s still paying one-hundred dollars. I’m not paying for it,” he says. In a way, ‘favoritism’ towards your own kids isn’t often presented in spoiling, or unfair treatment. Sometimes favoritism is demonstrated with nitpicking, and criticism.
When Mr. Green coached for baseball, his son Tommy had made the team. With this, other kids claimed that Tommy only made the team because his dad was the coach, when in reality, Tommy faced the most scrutiny and was constantly nagged at to improve. Mr. Green explains that he knew what Tommy was capable of, qualifying him to push his son to greater limits than others.
Elizabeth Curtin, a sophomore, was previously nominated as the student of the month. This usually entails having her picture showcased in the front office. I asked her a bit about favoritism, and if it was ever applied to her. “I don’t really think I’ve been favored necessarily, but I do know some past teachers that loved me,” she says.
I then inquired if she was ever a target of favoritism for being student of the month, but Curtin replied saying she never recalled receiving special treatment for it. “I don’t think anyone really recognizes people who get student of the month,” she began, “the school doesn’t really advertise it all that much.”
Despite this, Curtin doesn’t think favoritism is wrong. “I think it depends on the extent of the favoritism,” she says, “Besides, I don’t think we can ever get rid of favoritism, after all, there are always going to be those outstanding students that teachers love, and the students that misbehave and don’t turn their work in.”
It’s clear that favoritism isn’t something you can avoid- it’s always present. However, favoritism isn’t always shown with just a good grade when you didn’t deserve it, or always being used as the student example, but with the pushing of boundaries, and even a show of concern. Even so, favoritism can still be wrong, depending on the benefits of it, and it’s important to know where those boundaries are, and when they’ve crossed the line.
So the next time you see a teacher paying a little extra attention to that student by their desk, just remember that favoritism isn’t avoidable, and cut them a little slack. After-all, everybody has favorites, even you.