Personal teacher biases
Today, education reforms require teachers to implement curriculum standards, ready students to excel on standardized exams and demonstrate subject matter competency. Most administrators and scholars agree that a teacher’s ability to help students succeed is related to the knowledge and practices that promote student achievement. Yet, teacher effectiveness is also associated with educators’ deep-rooted set of beliefs about a student’s individuality, intellect and aptitude.
As great as public education can be, it’s not always equitable. I’ve had my fair share of personal experiences where teachers have treated me differently from my peers based on cultural background, grades or attitudes. We, as students, are constantly being told that bias should not be shown in judging or recognizing our peers, but it can oftentimes be apparent in our everyday lives at school. Teacher opinions can negatively impact a student’s motivation to excel and learn, for student treatment influences educational and emotional development. But, for the students who are favored, they are able to grow and learn with the special encouragement and positive support of their mentors.
On few occasions, teachers fail to take notice of the learning potential, cultural background and resources in their learners; therefore, there isn’t a great support system for these unfavored students. Due to this lack of teacher-to-student support, the student may feel unequal or not worthy in standing compared to the “star-pupil” of the classroom. This mindset will also lead to decreased motivation to learn or excel in that class.
Teachers should push themselves to become more willing to accept responsibilities for academic successes or failures for all students. This challenge will enable teachers to limit the amount of bias inflicted on an individual student because they will be focusing on all their students, not just some in particular.
While it is perfectly fine for teachers to keep mental notes on a particular student, they should not be expressed to a point where it may affect a student’s learning experience in school. Although not all teachers show favoritism in their classrooms, teacher bias threatens the idea of equality within a classroom, where every student is entitled to a positive learning experience, whether in a public or private sphere.
By Emily Chen, Staff writer