Part of a teacher’s job is to be respectful and encouraging to all students. However, some teachers can play favorites with certain students. They may call on a student more than others, or look the other way when a certain student doesn’t do their homework and punishing others for the same thing. In the classroom, some teachers tend to interact with the best students because they can rely on these students to give educated answers.
“I feel teachers have more faith in the answers of a student doing well in their class,” says Andrea Pringle, a junior at Central Magnet High School. “Teachers usually count on them more than others.”
Even some teachers show a preference for those students involved in the school community, like an athlete.
“Some teachers hate boys and some teachers only like students who are athletes,” says Chitra Nidavolu, a sophomore at Trumbull High School.
Teachers may also show bias towards students who are constantly disrespectful. These “bad” students are usually acting up, distracting the teacher, and do not put any effort into their work. These students might get harsher punishments than others because they make it harder for the teachers to control their class. Although teaching these students may be a challenge, some teens think all classmates deserve the same treatment.
“I do not think bias can be justified in any case because each student deserves fair treatment and teachers should try to be on better terms with disrespectful students, not give them less preferential treatment,” says Esha Deshmukh, a sophomore at Jonathan Law High School in Milford.
Students who make an effort to talk to the teacher and stand out in the class are sometimes more preferred by teachers than students who try to go unnoticed in the back of the room.
“I think the students have taken the opportunity to get to know the teacher better and therefore the teacher feels more comfortable around them,” says Abby Janik, of Milford, a sophomore at Lauralton Hall.
When students distract the teacher, or are rude in class, it is easy for their classmates to get frustrated. Distracting the teacher takes away from class time and annoy other students who want to stay on task. Teachers get only a certain amount of time each day to interact with their class and that time is valuable.
“I personally do get annoyed by the kids who just won’t listen because it usually gets in the way of class, but this does not happen often,” says Sheetala Balasubramanian, of Orange, a senior at Amity High School in Woodbridge.
Though the students who act up can usually be perceived as the ones who are in poor academic standing, this is not always the case.
“Some students respect the faculty, while others try and push the envelope to get a reaction,” says Elizabeth O’Brien, of Easton, a senior at Joel Barlow High School in Redding. “It’s not always the case where the smartest student is the most respectful. I’ve seen kids who struggle in school act the kindest towards teachers, and I’ve seen some of the smartest kids in the school be the rudest.”
It can be hard for a teacher to gain respect from a diverse student population. Students like teachers who are able to keep a class on topic but still create a fun atmosphere to learn in.
“Teachers that treat students with respect and don’t tolerate nonsense most often win the students’ respect,” says Alexis Aria, a senior at Saint Joseph High School.
It is easy to get annoyed when teachers show bias towards other students. Yet, if teenagers are focused during class and keep up with the work, they can excel in the class whether or not they have a good relationship with the teacher.
Written by Jordan Kovacs, a junior at Shelton High School.