05/07/2013 09:50 am ET Updated Jul 07, 2013

Teacher's Pet or Peeve?


Does your teacher play favorites? Most likely, yes. She or he is only human, after all.

I know it's hard to believe. For the first decade of my life, I didn't think a teacher had a favorite student. Sure, they had a favorite color, or ice cream flavor, or maybe even a favorite day of the week, but a student? No way.

Then, during my fifth grade year, it hit me like a ton of bricks. One of my teachers had her favorites, and I wasn't one of them. In fact, I'm pretty sure she didn't like me at all. It took me a while to accept my non-favored status, but what choice did I have? I just didn't really understand how this could happen. I thought we had a lot in common. She loved the environment and so did I; we even shared the same birthday! How could this be, she was a teacher, she was supposed to be treating every student the same. It just wasn't fair.

Now, when I think back to all of my former teachers, I realize she wasn't my first teacher to play favorites, and I'm sure she won't be my last. But this time, it certainly felt different. That's because I wasn't one of the favored. I guess I had always been one of the students who was on the teacher's good side, which I can tell you firsthand, is a much better place to be.

So, what to do if you find yourself sitting on the wrong side of this situation? Well, there's not a lot that you can do. I've been scouring resources for some solution, and I've come up pretty much empty. You can try to get in your teacher's good graces, but it may be fighting an uphill battle. Work hard and do the very best you can, and nobody can take that away from you.

Internet advice says to confide in your parents, and if you think it's a serious enough matter, then take it to an advisor or somebody in charge at the school. Or you may even want to confront the teacher about it.

From my limited experiences, I know there's one thing you can do for sure: learn from it.

I'm not unhappy that one of my fifth grade teachers played favorites and didn't include me. It taught me some very valuable life lessons. It taught me to respect authority, whether the authority respects me or not. It taught me to work hard for me, not for a certain grade point average or for anybody else. If in the end I can say I did my very best, then that's an A+ in my book. I also learned that I don't need praise or applause to be proud of my work. And, life isn't always fair, and that's OK.

I've been back to visit all of my former teachers, including this one. I brought a smile, a "how do you do?" and even a hug. I'm not holding onto any hard feelings. My mom, well, she's a different story. I'm excited for the learning I have ahead of me, and for the teachers I'm going to get to meet along the way. Favorite or not, I've got a lot to look forward to.

Peace Love Profits,