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Are You Being Fair?

Tips for avoiding teacher's pets and favoritism in the classroom.
Published: June 19, 2020

Mary Beth Solano learned early on how damaging favoritism in a classroom can be. Really early. In first grade, Solano's teacher divided her class into reading groups: the capable students were named Blue Birds; the others were labeled Buzzards.

In first grade, Solano’s teacher divided her class into reading groups. The capable students were named Blue Birds. The others were labeled Buzzards.

“I remember her treating the Blue Birds differently than the Buzzards,” says Solano, a Blue Bird who went on to a 32-year teaching career mostly in Fort Collins, Colorado. “She was sharper with [the Buzzards]. It was more frustration with them. They were talked to differently.”

She may have only been six, but Solano said she knew the teacher’s methods just weren’t right. And as she progressed toward her own career in education, Solano promised herself she would “never ever do that.”

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