Some Are More Equal Than Others


Natalie Dearman, Staff Writer

Every teacher and student know that there’s always those troublemakers…Almost every single class period, they get yelled out at, at least ten times and get asked to leave the room. And then there’s the model students, they never get yelled at or called out for breaking the rules or doing something bad.

Through my experience as a student though, here’s  how it really happens:

The “troublemaker(s)” start off the year by breaking a rule, or setting the teacher off in some sort of way. The “model” students don’t. In this particular situation, the saying “first impressions are everything” applies in every sense. Maybe a week or two goes by, and the “troublemaker” student (as teachers like to call them) breaks yet another rule, either intentionally, or unintentionally. And now that a rule has been broken a second time, the teacher now really has their attention set on that particular student.

More time goes by, and the “model” students start to notice how one or two particular students are constantly targeted by the teacher, no matter what they do.

Envision the room and its students in all colored in black and white, but the “troublemaker” student, highlighted in bright red. Through my experience, I view this happening every year. Quite rapidly, it gets to the point to where no matter what that one student is doing, they’re always doing something wrong. The teacher begins to nitpick at the most petty things or mistakes they make, in order to make an example of them to the other students. They want to show “this is what will happen to you if you misbehave/break rules in my class!”

Personally, I tend to be pretty quiet in the majority of my classes, so I’m not typically targeted. So because of this, I’ve recently experimented with the teacher’s reaction. What happens if I or other untargeted students break a couple small rules right in front of the teacher’s face? You know, the one who is labeled as “troublemaker” gets in a lot of trouble for doing it.

So for a couple of class periods that I’ve had with a targeted student, I’ll eat in a class I’m not supposed to eat in, or be on my phone when it’s not even supposed to be in my possession. Results: the teacher said something to me about it once out of nine times. So then, it gets worse. Not only does that student excessively get called out for the dumbest of things, it becomes personal. The teacher feels patronized, so what else can they do but patronize them back? They’ll do anything to get the disruption to stop at this point. They start using personal insults, screaming at them in front of the whole class, and responding to every other word they say with “shut up”.

Although it isn’t happening to me, I get pretty shaken just by simply witnessing it. Teachers aren’t supposed to use favoritism, but it’s happening whether we like it or not. Ever heard of the word “ethics”? It applies to literally every single job, whether you’re a successful lawyer, or you work at Mcdonalds. We’re at school for a minimum of eight hours a day, so teachers tend to be pretty big role models whether we realize it or not.

So why should we be given such a poor example of how adults are supposed to act, or treat others? We shouldn’t. No matter how quiet, or how loud, all students should be treated and disciplined the same, and school shouldn’t have to feel like a dangerous place.