“It is hard sometimes to handle students who feel as though they want to do everything possible to help you,” says dancingnancy’s blog. I agree with this statement and wish to add that some time ago I realized that my authorization of that belief is inconsistent with other parts of my thinking about students. What I mean is that I want students to come into the classroom, sit down in their seats, practice common courtesy, and participate in class, which sounds like I want them to be perfect students, but I don’t. That is the inconsistency. I don’t want them to always try to please me; I want them to discover themselves and create their own value systems.
In the same vein, I think being a student’s favorite teacher is a difficult position because it makes me feel like I have to work a little harder, be a little better everyday, and forget bad moods. The teacher’s pet could feel the same way because, if I am really honest, these are the students that I sometimes push the hardest. Part of this student’s function in my class could be to make a better teacher of me. I may sense that the student wants to learn or better yet has the capacity to learn a great deal and I may try to get the most that I can from him or her, which may lead to extra study on a topic because I did not have the answer in class and perceived that I need to know more about an issue because the questions are not going to go away.
There are other reasons that a student may fall under the heading of “teacher’s pet”. The student may be a struggler or have problems outside the classroom and I appreciate his or her effort because I think I understand the living circumstances. Then there is the natural phenomenon that we just connect better with some people than others very likely because we have commonalities.
I think my conclusion about the “teacher’s pet” is that this student can make better teachers of us if we overcome the inclination to treat him or her differently and continuously strive for equality in the classroom. We should make ourselves available to all of our students and be keenly aware of how we are presenting ourselves in the classroom so that students don’t create perceptions of unfair treatment.