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Classroom Management to Avoid Favoritism

Janelle Cox

As educators, we try hard to use classroom management not to favor one student over another. But, as hard as we may try avoiding having favorites, some of us may be completely unaware that we are even doing it. Teachers transmit different kinds of emotions towards different students. It’s not that a teacher may like one student over another, it’s that their feelings may be influenced by one child more than another. Teachers have different emotions for different children, that’s what makes them human -- it doesn’t make them bad teachers, or teachers who plays favorites. However, as humans, we have the ability to change or manage the way that we feel so that we are fair and treat all children in our classroom equally. Here are a few classroom management tips to help avoid favoritism with students.  

Follow Your Classroom Management Plan

One surefire way to ensure that you’re being fair in your classroom is to closely and consistently follow your classroom management plan. Don’t change the rules for any child and don’t take students’ actions personally. A lot of the time, your emotions can get the best of you, especially after a long day dealing with a disruptive student. Put your feelings aside and always stick to your original plan. When you have a plan to stick to, you are less likely to veer from it.

Never Leave Any Child Out, No Matter What

Many elementary school teachers use the popsicle stick classroom management plan to ensure fairness. This approach is when the teacher writes the name of each student in the classroom onto a popsicle stick and blindly chooses a stick anytime she wants to call upon a student to answer a question. Many teachers like this approach because it eliminates the, “Why don’t you ever pick me?” comments that they usually get from the students. With today’s technology, many teachers are now utilizing apps like “Teachers Pick” or “Stick Pick” that eliminate the physical popsicle stick and choose students at random for you. These options are a great way to ensure that no child is left out and promote a classroom community that is based on equality and fairness, not favoritism.

Guarantee Fairness with an Assessment Rubric

An easy way to ensure fair grading in the classroom is with an assessment rubric. Assessment rubrics are an efficient tool that make the grading process more objective. While they can be time-consuming to create from scratch, once you have them, it saves time spent grading, and they are unbiased, so every child will be graded equally and by the same standard. To make it even easier on yourself, you can just print a template off online instead of creating one yourself.

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If you really want to ensure fairness in the classroom is far as grading goes, then using a variety of assessments that can accommodate many different learning styles is the way to go. As you know, all children learn differently and at their own pace, so by using a variety of assessment methods, you can help students demonstrate their individual learning more objectively.

Be Aware of Your Emotions

As mentioned earlier, many teachers are completely unaware that they are even favoring any child in their classroom because they just see it as transmitting different kinds of emotions towards different students. Part of treating all students fairly is having the ability to reflect upon your own actions and emotions. Think about how you treat each child. In order to be fair, it helps to be aware of your emotions and not let them interfere with your teaching methods. Oftentimes, many educators let their emotions get the best of them which can lead to an unfair classroom. A good example of this is to think about the student you have in your classroom that irritates you the most, as well as the student who you think acts the best. What attributes do each of these students have, and not have?  Be mindful of the way you treat your students based on the way that you feel. Make sure that leave your personal feelings out and solely focus on your job as a mentor and educator.

Favoritism is not OK, and creates a classroom where students may resent you. It also weakens students’ self-esteem, alienates your most difficult students, and overall creates an unhappy classroom environment. Be aware of your emotions towards all of your students and try and build a rapport with each and every one of them so that you can create a classroom community where all students feel equal and welcome.

How do you avoid favoritism in your classroom? Do you have any classroom management tips that you use to avoid unfairness in your class? Please share your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below, we’d love to hear your responses.


Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.