Does the “Teacher’s Pet” phenomenon still exist?

Teachers tend to pet a certain student due to superior qualities or characteristics. How would one application address this challenge?

Teachers may favour students (teacher's pet) with similar interests, morals, and personalities; for instance, a sports-loving math teacher may relate better with an athletic student. Putting clear and concise policies in place that define how student performance should be evaluated is an effective way to address the possibility of teachers having student pets.

Teachers frequently prefer the students who work hard, show initiative, make an effort to get to know them better, are funny, and go above and beyond what is taught. Thus, the teacher's tendency is to focus on those students who make it easier for them to teach. Teachers should be encouraged to find value in all students, regardless of their personality type, to address this issue. Why? 

The impact of having teacher's pet in class

The presence of teacher pets fosters resentment, jealousy, and a sense of unfairness among other students. This can negatively impact their motivation, engagement, and academic performance. For instance, if a teacher constantly praises a certain student and gives them preferential treatment, this can lead to other students feeling neglected and unmotivated to do their work. Students may express these feelings through disobedience and a lack of participation. According to one study, 61% of students in a class with a pet were willing to continue the lesson. This is compared to 83% of students in a class without a teacher's pet. In addition, pet-rejecting students reported feeling less connected to their teacher and less motivated in class.

Further, this form of favouritism can create a self-fulfilling prophecy in which students' performances are influenced by teachers' expectations of them, resulting in lower self-esteem and a lack of motivation to improve for non-favoured students. Students may feel that they are not seen as capable or valued by their teachers. The idea of being deemed incapable by their teachers can demoralise students, leading to feelings of helplessness and frustration. This can lead to a lack of effort and class engagement, adversely affecting their academic performance. This can lead to an uneven learning environment. What can be done to level the learning field?

What can help eliminate teacher's pets?

A study showed that it is better to have the “best student” mentality in class instead of a teacher's pet, as they have characteristics such as diligence, liability, and excellent achievement. This creates an example for the other students to strive towards, increasing competition and helping them to learn from one another.

Putting together a class of the best students is difficult, but it is not impossible. Teachers should strive for a fair assessment process to identify their best students and use their characteristics to inspire others to pursue excellence. This process has been beneficial in my classes.

An artificial intelligence application that can be used to evaluate students immediately is now available. It lowers the likelihood of having a teacher pet while accurately assessing each student's needs with minimal to no favouritism. Further, teachers can make informed decisions rather than those based on their preferences or habits. Teachers using this AI tool gain a more objective view of each student's progress and performance. This helps support the mentality of “highly motivated students” for all the students, not just the favorites.

E-spaces is offering a beta version of its application to help teachers improve their students' learning experiences through instant digital assessment. Teachers apply what Steve Maraboli, an American motivational speaker, said: “If you don't succeed at first, you're doing it wrong.” Sign up for a chance to be selected for the trial process to learn the right way.


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