Teachers And Administrators

Teacher Favoritism in High School

A. C. Bowie's image for:
"Teacher Favoritism in High School"
Image by: 

I was a "teacher's pet" in every sense of the word starting from the earliest age at which this term is possible to use. By high school, I had it down to an art form. My reputation even went so far as to proceed me as the faculty used me as one of their topics of conversation. Teachers loved me. I was the class favorite, but I earned it because my grades and attitude were fantastic. School kids don't often see it that way, and that can be a problem.

Throughout my schooling, I was perpetually accused of monopolizing the teacher's attention when it came to academia. Their arguments were certainly valid. My work was used as the example of a job well done, and my tests were often the answer key for everyone else's papers. Did this create resentment among my peers? Very much so. If you had asked me then if it was worth it, I would have been ambivalent. From a social perspective, it was stunting. When you know for a fact your English teacher likes you more than any other student, it can be hard to relate to your peers. Teachers are the authority, and the animal known as teenager will naturally rebel against it. Anyone who doesn't is an outsider. Every day I was like a gazelle walking into a lion's den.

However, there was a strange comfort in knowing that the person controlling your grades doesn't have any personal distaste for you that could in any way subconsciously affect their grading techniques. Overall, though, I could have done without the social isolation that teacher favoritism causes. The excessive praise I received, far from encouraging me, led me to seek mediocrity, even failure in extreme cases. If my work was simply acceptable, instead of extraordinary, I wouldn't be called out in class. I'm the first to toot my own horn, but there comes a point when the ostracizing becomes too much to bear. It is then that you simply want the teacher to put your exemplary paper with the perfect score face down on the desk and focus her attention on someone else.

It wasn't until I got to college that I understood how deeply this passive partiality had affected me. Being a favorite in secondary school had subliminally taught me how to ingratiate myself with my college professors. I knew no other way to interact with my instructors than the way I had in high school. Before I knew it, I was the favorite again in several of my classes, the teacher's pet. I was just a bit distraught to find that college students aren't that much more mature than high school students the first few semesters. Then I entered the workforce, and I found out something important. The real world likes teacher's pets. It turns out your boss likes it if you brown nose a little, being a favorite is not a bad thing because now your coworkers are trying to do the same thing, and the people that don't like you for it don't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Retrospectively, teacher favoritism gave me an edge I didn't expect. You learn to put up with the fact that some people aren't going to like you for what you do and how well you do it, and that's just how life is. As a high school student, bias was probably one of the worst things I ever had to endure, even if I did graduate eighth in my class for it. As an adult, though, I've come to realize it's not the worst thing in the world. High school is the last time in your life when someone else will recognize even your smallest accomplishments, and that should be appreciated in any way it can be.

More about this author: A. C. Bowie

From Around the Web