The wisest of teachers will tell all new hires that the hardest thing to do in a classroom is to be impartial. The most experienced teachers will add that when a rule is made in the classroom it must be adhered to no matter what the circumstances or a feeling of unfairness will wash over the students like a tidal wave. Impartiality is one of the most challenging traits a teacher can possess. Teachers pride themselves on being able to be an impartial judge of the performance of the students in their charge as well as behavioral or discipline issues that can arise. However, for as hard as teachers try to be a fair judge, there are still many challenges to being neutral in a classroom setting.
An outstanding teacher understands that all students placed in their care are worthy of learning. As such, the impartial teacher must approach each student’s ability to learn with the same zeal whether or not they have a learning issue or are Harvard bound. Oftentimes, a teacher will have many students in the classroom of varying ranges of intelligence. It is the impartial teacher who strives to show each student the same amount of respect. The impartial teacher does not play favorites among the students, nor do they allow the emotional pieces into their discipline. Those who can truly be fair judges of their students must turn a blind eye to all predispositions and judge each student in their own right. This also applies to students who have learning issues or Individualized Educational Plans for a disability. Each student deserves to have a clean slate from a teacher who can be neutral with respect to their ability to learn.
The hardest time for a teacher to be impartial is in the realm of discipline. All students, (yes all of them) will have their day when they just can not seem to get it right. Many teachers tend to lean heavily on those students who are known discipline problems and go a bit easier on those who usually do not cause issues. To be truly impartial, an excellent teacher knows that all students must be held to task for their actions and should be made to “own” what they do from day to day.
Finally, the most impartial of teachers grades all students the same. The handwriting can be clean or messy, the work well organized or a mess…the teacher that is truly impartial will give each paper, project, quiz and test a fair read. A teacher who is trying to be fair will not even look at the name on the top of the paper when judging the performance of a student. This teacher will give each student the opportunity to earn their grade honestly and with diligence.