What to Do if You Have Come Across with “Teacher’s Pet” Phenomenon?

Student and Teacher in University

Being somehow favored always flatters vanity of every individual. Unwittingly, we all had such desire looking at the “teacher’s pets” whom was given a preferable treatment to. It is connected with a deep wish to be not like others and realize that you have the special skills or abilities which point out you as a person among others. But there is a reverse of the medal that is a “chilly climate” in a social group. In this way, it is of a high importance to identify acceptable frames for the teacher’s pet phenomenon and the situations where there is a need to deal with its negative results, especially when it goes about university or college environment.

Common Facts and Understanding of “Teacher’s Pet” Phenomenon

Discussed phenomenon can be identified as a peculiar emotional relationship between a professor and a definite student (or two) in the studying environment. Every who was in school or attends now the university knows about such “preferred students.” Some of us can nostalgically recall those memories or accept it as a nowadays reality in the life. One singer Doris Day sang, “I want to be teacher’s pet.” However, not all educators nowadays see positive sides in this phenomenon, rather the quite negative, blaming those having a preferable relation to one of the students.

The phenomenon of teacher’s pet is to be seriously accepted and considered as far as it refers not only to the professor and student-pet but has an adverse effect on the whole classroom society. It can be supposed that such affectionate relation to a student appears because of the enormous pleasure the professor receives in the course of education of a chosen student. The existence of special relations between teacher and student creates a perfect environment for the possible malign impacts on such factors of healthy classroom collective as student’s morale, student’s relation to their professor, and general satisfaction rate. Read more here.

Scientific Background

Black and White Photo of Research

If we take a look at some of the research works conducted by Silberman (1961, 1971), we will find his differentiation of main possible attitudes of a teacher:

  • Attachment;
  • Concern;
  • Indifference;
  • Injection.

After Silberman and other his colleagues have conducted the examination of teacher’s behavior toward the students, taking part in the experiment, the scientists have seen that the group “attachment” appears as that which contains “teacher’s pets” due to the highly emotional evaluation of their traits and skills by the teacher.

So Why Some Students Deserve such Attitude and Others – Not?

Professor at the Table

You can accept it or not, but the main reason that cannot be withdrawn is a human factor. Professors or teachers are simple human beings with emotions, positive and negative. And they are inclined to feel sympathize with certain people that are of a similar way of thinking and acting, command respect, or are really outstanding on their young stage of development (e.g., already in school, college, or university). These teachers who are tolerant to some students excuse themselves with saying something like “worthy of teacher’s love… so to speak.” But such words just worthen the situation.

The children who are open to communication and collaboration, strive for new knowledge, and possess the range of positive personal skills are more often supported and encouraged by professor or teacher. It gives the teacher a chance to feel satisfaction from executed work. But a really wise educator knows that such approach is unacceptable in terms of social group. The professional teacher tries to understand and help everyone.

How to Deal with the “Teacher’s Pet” Phenomenon

When you have come across with the situation where a professor highlights someone’s abilities more, making others feel uncomfortable and depressed, it means that you have to follow the next possible steps to overcome a pressing problem:

  • First of all, talk to the other students: Do they agree with you, or the situation looks like inadequate only in the eyes of you. If almost everyone in your group noticed the same issue, then you can set a special line of conduct with this particular professor. For example, you can air your disagreement to the professor, pointing on the unfair teacher’s behavior against the students. So to say, come the professor to the light, revealing his/her unprofessional manner of teaching.
  • If the first step resulted into even more aggressive attitude, then it means it is time to act bravely. If such misconduct is rather repetitive and obvious for everyone in your group, you together can write a collective complaint to the attention of university administration, describing actual actions and words that can argue for your affirmation.
Serious Group of Students

In any case, you are not obliged to suffer the conditions that discourage the educational process. Let us remember that most of the times, only those who are “teacher’s pets” are privileged and benefit from the whole situation. So, why do you have to play up to them?

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