Posted on: February 3, 2009 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 0

There was a time that placing apples on the teacher’s desk was a sign of courteousness and respect. It works back in grade school, but certainly not in university where everyone should be acknowledged, graded, and treated equally. If there’s any sort of student that remained through the long and storied history of the educational system, it definitely has to be the teacher’s pet.

Almost everyone is annoyed by the teacher’s pet. Some teachers want to maintain a cordial, professional atmosphere at school, and don’t want their students sucking up to them to get an edge and a good grade come the end of the term. The classmates of a teacher’s pet may perceive him or her to be a major butt-kisser who would not hesitate to put other people down and step on them to get an academic advantage.

If you have a teacher’s pet casting a dark cloud upon your classroom experience, here are some ways to get rid of them.


There’s a big difference between a conscientious student and a teacher’s pet, and some people may mistake one for the other. Maybe your own prejudices and academic standing cloud your own judgment. Sometimes a student or a classmate may be really diligent and is intent at fulfilling his or her academic goals, but is mistakenly labeled as a teacher’s pet.

Most teachers are objective about academic performance, and would grade and evaluate students according to rules and standards. The thing about a teacher’s pet is that he or she does not pay a lot of attention to schoolwork and academics, but chooses instead to take the easy way to pass a subject. Compared to really diligent students, teacher’s pets rarely – if at all – get the high grades and praises they expect from the teacher. Most teacher’s pets have mediocre academic performance, and almost all their attempts at academic excellence end up in failure.

Here are some tell-tale signs of a teacher’s pet:

  • He or she constantly seeks to impress the teacher. Really impressive students ask questions and give insights that are relevant to a lecture or a discussion. Whenever they talk, they make sense. Teacher’s pets often try to come across as competent students, although they blabber out nonsense whenever they talk in class. Some even want to present an impression that they are more intelligent than the rest of the class.
  • He or she takes every opportunity to be with the teacher. It’s OK to say goodbye to your teacher after class, but students and teachers should maintain a professional, civil relationship. As a student, you should not meddle in the personal and the professional affairs of your teacher. Some students can be touchy-feely, and want to come across as “concerned students” even if they’re intruding into their teacher’s lives just to get an unfair advantage over other students.
  • He or she always gives gifts and does favors for the teacher. There will always be a right place and a right time to give your teacher a gift or a token of appreciation. No matter how generous or magnanimous your are, it’s a big no-no to give to teachers “just because”. Yet teacher’s pets insist on giving gifts and tokens away because they want to have an “edge” over their classmates.

Don’t Pay Attention

While you should always pay attention to a class lecture, you shouldn’t pay attention to a teacher’s pet at all. Most, if not all, teacher’s pets are praise-seekers, and want to impress the teacher by eliciting a favorable response from you. You would only boost up the inflated and overbearing ego of the teacher’s pet if you pay attention to him or her during class.

Like your parents and teachers tell you, the important thing is to pay attention to the lesson while you’re in the classroom. If you pay too much attention to the teacher’s pet, you won’t be able to take down notes, or digest the important information during a lecture or a report. Leave that risk to the teacher’s pet, who probably no longer has an idea of what the discussion is all about because of the time he or she spends with your teacher.

Focus on Your Schoolwork

Face it, everyone wants to impress the teacher. If you want to get out of your way and impress your teacher, you have to do so in a way that’s fair to all your classmates, and fair to your teacher as well. The only way you can do that is if you focus on your studies, do required assignments and submit them on time, and ace your exams. Remember that there’s no shortcut to academic excellence.

When to Confront the Teacher’s Pet

Usually you could do well ignoring the teacher’s pet, but sometimes you need to confront him or her head-on. Unless you want a shouting match at the school hallway, you need to know when you can confront your class’ resident sycophant:

  • If you feel that grading is becoming unfair. Sometimes, even the most well-meaning teachers can sometimes get unfairly influenced by teacher’s pets, to the point that grading and evaluation becomes very partial to the teacher’s pet.
  • If the sentiment is shared by your classmates. Chances are that many of your classmates are friends of the teacher’s pet, and they are quite concerned about the welfare of their friend.
  • If the teacher’s pet disturbs the flow of the discussion. A teacher’s pet can sometimes be so persistent to the point of overkill. If your class is disturbed by his or her tireless attempts at trying to get everyone’s goat, then you need the more direct approach.

How to Confront the Teacher’s Pet

Now that you’ve settled on why you should confront the teacher’s pet, here are some ways to confront them about their obnoxious behavior:

  • Be direct. Don’t beat around the bush; tell your classmate he or she isn’t doing anyone any favors. Chances are that your classmate will offer up some explanation, like that he or she is only trying to make a good impression for the teacher, and you’re just jealous.
  • Offer an explanation. After listening to the explanation, explain your side and say that you only want things to be fair. Explain that you and your classmates are also trying to do good academically, and it’s unfair for the teacher’s pet to use underhanded tactics just to impress the teacher.
  • Be diplomatic. As irritated as you are with the teacher’s pet, the campus is no place for you to fight and squabble. Be civil, to the point, and diplomatic when you confront the teacher’s pet. He or she may be offended, but make it clear that you’re offended by the way he or she behaves in the classroom.

File a Complaint

In some schools and universities, being a teacher’s pet is considered an academic offense. Teachers and students alike should behave objectively, and should maintain professional standards in and out of the classroom. You can file a formal complaint to the teacher, and send reference copies to the department head and the dean of the college.

Fairness and responsibility are expected of all students and teachers. The classroom is supposed to be a level playing field where everyone gets what they deserve, and what they work hard for. Now that you know how to get rid of the teacher’s pet, all of you in the classroom can now reap the real rewards of learning.

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