The first time I did my full time clinical teaching internship, I realized that I would have favored students in my life. It’s not something that teachers want to admit because we do our best to not have any favored students. But I’m here to let you know that if you’re a teacher and you don’t have favored students, this might not be the career for you.
If you’re a parent and a teacher appears to take a special interest in your child,
be grateful. You’ve been blessed. With so many children feeling ignored in this overburdened school system, your child isn’t one of them. Your child is standing out. Take advantage of it.
If you’re angry that teachers have favored students then you probably have never connected with teachers throughout your educational years. If that’s the case, I’m sorry for you. You have missed out.
While I know that I have had favorite teachers growing up, I also know that some teachers favored some of my classmates more than others.
There’s a difference in my opinion between favored and favorite. In this post I’m using the word favored because I’m discussing how I might be paying a little bit more attention to some students over others but the final call as to whether the child becomes a favorite is still undecided. Sometimes it’s never decided.
I never realized why or how this process worked until I met my first favored student.
HOW IT BEGINS
After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, I was assigned to do my full time teaching internship at Cutler Ridge Middle School. I was twenty-two years old, 3 feet tall and in a wheelchair entering what was known as a rough school with teenagers who had had their lives turned literally inside out by a natural disaster. I was excited and scared at the same time.
As I was getting out of the special transportation van, a young African American gentleman approached me. He asked me if I was new. I nodded and told him that I was here to see Mrs. Everitt. He explained that he knew her and to follow him. He conversed with me the entire time. We clicked immediately.
I entered a room full of boxes full of supplies and crowded with other teens. He announced to his classmates that they had a new student. He was referring to me. All of their faces were staring at me. Some smiled. Some didn’t. I think I blushed. Mrs. Everitt asked me for my name and when I told her, she smiled. She looked at the kids and announced that I was their new teacher. Smiles faded but not from the first young man. He continued to smile. His name was Archie. Archie Daniels.
This part of the story is important because you see, Archie’s smile didn’t change like the others. He left a lasting impression with his big heart. Little did I know, he would be my first favored student. Not favorite but favored.
Not Easy Being Favored By A Teacher
There is a misconception that it is easy breezy once you’re favored by a teacher. But many times it is completely the opposite. I tend to demand more from students who I think I have favored.
- I want the “favored” student as well as the rest of the students to excel and achieve the highest level of success possible. But I realize that the “favored” student is someone who I feel can handle the extra push, the extra attention, the extra demands to do better, be better, learn more, do more.
- The “favored” student can’t get away with much because he/she is given such high expectations that once the “favored” student starts to slack I will notice much faster than when the other students do. Lucky or unlucky for the student? It all depends on the student’s attitude. I think they are lucky. But that’s me!
But make no bones about it. It’s not easy being the “favorite”.
How Does a Student Become A “favorite”?
Throughout the years, I have favored students and gone the extra mile for them. It might have started with Archie and the other Cutler Ridge Middle School students, but it continued with the Ruben Dario Middle School ESE math students in Mrs. Del Castillo’s class, Ponce de Leon SARP students, Southwood Gifted students, and for the last 10 years, Jane S. Roberts students.
Every now and then, I get a great bunch of kids who enjoy learning, have a great disposition, and a desire to succeed in life. But those aren’t the ones I tend to favor all the time.
According to my friends, I look for the underdog or the unsung hero. But today, I realize that there might be a method to my madness.
Today, one of my students reminded me of Sean Nickel who was my “BFF” when I was in junior high school. This student is also a student who one would say is “favored” by me. After thinking about it for a while and discussing it with someone else, I realized that I tend to pick these “projects” because they remind me of people in my past.
It might be a student’s smile, attitude, witty answers, lack of answers, bashful face, grumpy face, eagerness to please, chip on the shoulder or who knows!
This year many of my students remind me of my sisters, my brother, other former students and now even friends from my junior high school. Perhaps that’s why I’ve enjoyed teaching many of them this year more than in the last previous years. Perhaps that’s why I am tougher on them. Perhaps that’s why I am willing to go the extra mile with them.
I don’t know. But I know that as long as they are willing to go the extra mile with me, I will take them as far as I can to reach the finish line.
So there is no answer as to how a student is favored by a teacher or even by me. But it happens.
Have you ever been a favorite student? Have you ever favored a student? What was your experience?