Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The Ugly Truth: Teachers and Coaches Play Favorites

The following is the fifth in a series of posts written in the form of letters to my son who will be beginning high school in the fall. To view posts from the start, click here. After reading that post, select "Newer Post" at the bottom left of that post to continue the series. You can also use the "Archives" menu on the right of the page. The series starts on June 11.

Harris,

You've probably figured this out by now, but I think it's important to reinforce it: teachers and coaches DO play favorites. That doesn't mean they are being unfair. They are simply getting you ready for the real world.

I'm not talking about people who favor someone because of their gender, wealth, athletic ability, etc. That happens as well, but even the good teachers, the fair teachers, play favorites. It's just that the people who become their favorites have earned it by WHO they are, not WHAT they are. 

Our favorites are the students who come to class every day ready to learn. You don't have to be the student who constantly asks how we are doing or the student who tries to answer every question we ask. In fact, that act gets old pretty quickly. So, how do you become a teacher's favorite? It's pretty simple. Always have your book, notebook and something to write with. Pay attention when the teacher or your classmates are talking. Care more about what goes on in the classroom than what goes on in the hallways. Use technology as a tool, not a distraction or an excuse. Give your best effort at all times. Help students who are less focused or gifted than you. That's about it. If you can do those things on a consistent basis, you'll become a "favorite" in no time.

None of these things will get you labelled as a "teacher's pet" (if that term is even used anymore). And guess what, these simple things translate pretty well to real life. When you are in the working world, show up prepared and on time. Listen when other people talk. Keep your work life and home life separate. Take pride in what you do. Hey, it's another "hidden lesson" in high school.

People like to be with those who are enthusiastic, respectful and work to the best of their ability. It doesn't matter if it's high school, college or the working world. If you whine, complain, mouth off and slack off, you are not going to make anybody's favorite list.

Love,

Dad

Next Post: Which type of student are you?
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