Monday, January 20, 2014

Fair vs Equal


I have used a sign similar to this in my classroom since I began teaching.  I get it out at the beginning of the year and talk about the difference between fair and equal.  They are not the same.

As a parent I think this becomes easily blurred.  We want what's best for our kids.  We want and expect them to do well, achieve at the highest levels, and behave well.  When they struggle in class we want the teacher to work with them to help build skills.  When they don't understand something in church, it's likely to be addressed in Sunday School.  Kids struggling with plays are pulled aside in practice and worked with by a coach to help them understand the play.

These interventions do not equate an A in class, clear understanding of the Word, or a starting spot on the team.  They do, however, give our kids a better understanding of skills and teaches them of the importance of hard work and determination.  It's not instant gratification. It's a process.

When I was completing my undergrad, I had to take a licensing test to complete my degree and obtain my teaching license.  I studied harder than I had studied in most of my college career.  I failed it.  I had to pay to retake it and it was an expensive test.  It would be ridiculous for me to call the testing company and demand a passing score simply because I had paid the fee to take the test.  But that's what we do with our kids.  Just because we pay for something we feel we (not our kid) are owed an equal share.  In my observation, the kids are fine with whatever is going on.  They're ok working on the math facts.  They don't have a problem with not starting, because they are a part of a team and something bigger than themselves- Kids get that.  But the adults, WE get ruffled.  We traveled all this way and our kid didn't get the award/score/position we thought he was entitled to. We forget the reason we are there- for the support of our kids.  So no, fair is not equal.

At the end of the day I'd be upset if my kid was treated equal to everyone else's kid.  My kid isn't the same as yours.  My kid needs more reading than math support.  Is it fair that his time was spent in extra math group and missing reading support because that was equal?  Right now my kid shouldn't be starting games because his buddy is a better shooter than he is.  I'm not his coach or teacher because I chose not to be. I chose to be a spectator.  I trust those in charge will make the best decisions for him based on the wealth of data and information they have in front of them because they work with him daily.  My job is to encourage and be a cheerleader in this game of life.  Because life is not a sprint; It's a marathon.

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