8 April 2014

Favouritism is just not okay. It happens all the time, and even at twenty years old and in my third year of uni, it's not going away. 

In the classroom at primary school, teachers would pick their star pupils. They'd always be the ones to get the pristine new exercise books, they'd be picked on first when they put their hand up, and they'd never get their Golden Time vouchers taken away no matter how much they doodled on tables or cheated in spelling tests. I once had a Year 5 teacher who hand-picked her favourites based on who watched Eastenders after school and who could shout the loudest during Carpet Time.

Secondary school teachers picked their favourites based on who made their work books the prettiest using highlighters and stickers, or who brought them cupcakes and a cup of tea at breaktime. They'd pick on the same students each week to read the main parts in our studied plays, they'd let them off doing their homework and they'd give them lead roles in the school Panto without even auditioning them. 
I was in such a position myself once - my English/Drama teacher would gather four of us students together at break times and we'd drink piping hot instant latte sachets. We were called the 'Coffee Club'. I loved those breaks, mostly because we always had a giggle but also because if I were to venture out into the playground I'd get my head stamped on.

College tutors would arrange one-on-one sessions with their favourites, in their air-conditioned office, tea and coffee provided of course. They'd pretend not to notice when the favourites skipped the weekly two-hour tutor group lessons, where we'd learn about the dangers of alcohol, drugs and not using contraception as well as perfecting our CV writing, interview techniques and nutritional dieting. I knew the sweet perks and happy living that came with being a favourite in my AS year - but as soon as I became an ugly second year, everything changed. Suddenly I was being victimized, ridiculed in front of the class and made a scapegoat for everyone else's problems. I had to miss one tutor group session because I had a driving lesson, and I never heard the end of it - even when I passed my test and attended them all. My Sociology teacher was no better, he'd always make me read out my essays and he'd critique them there and then in front of the class. I got an A* in my final exam, and when he congratulated me I felt like sticking two fingers up in his face. My Drama teacher, thankfully, loved me. She worked hard to coax me out of my shell, tried repeatedly to set me up with my best friend and classmate, and even taught me how to swear convincingly (and she did a fucking good job). I'd sit in the college courtyard and drink the coffee she made me while she chain-smoked, and it never even crossed my mind that I was a favourite - I felt like her friend.

Lecturers carefully select their favourites based on who consistently arrives five minutes early, who takes part in extra-curricular projects such as the Prison Theatre and the Pop-Up Poetry Slam Cafe, and who has the decency to email in advance when they can't make it in. They seem like the most academic favourite-makers. They also award Favourite status to anyone who makes it to their 9am on a Thursday morning, hungover or otherwise. Favourites get emails every other day with worthwhile attachments or just a friendly greeting and offer of free essay analysis anytime. Nobody is the 'class clown' or the lecturer's victim, as everyone in the lecture or seminar room has elected to be there, instead there are simply the Favourites and the Averages.

Bosses, in my experience, either like you in the interview and maintain that liking for your entire stint in their business, or are indifferent to you and treat you as such, before eventually you are just their bitch. I've been made to feel like I can never measure up by some employers, and held in the highest regard by others. I never seem to fall into the happy medium category of hard-working hardly-noticed employee, which in some cases I'd prefer.

Friends, of all people, shouldn't have favourites. Best friends is a status achieved together, a mutual understanding of each other and a desire to be closer. However, when friends start picking favourites, the ground shakes and the clouds draw in. People get left behind, or moved aside. One friend gets endless messages and public declarations of love, specialised shop goodies and warm blankets to snuggle under. The other sees the closed door, wants to feel the buzzing noises they hear through the wall, craves the sweet sickly rewards and sighs upon silence. 

Favouritism must stop. Soon. I know it won't, but I live in hope,

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