I'm a teacher. It's what I've been doing, in some way, for 20 years now. On Monday I was grading our first batch of geology tests for the year and was shocked to see the performance of one of my students. After scoring the multiple choice section (which they did horribly on), I was incredibly confused. This kid usually aces everything that I throw at them...how did they completely bomb an entire section of the test?!
Confused, I went on to score the rest of the geology test and was relieved to see that this particular kid got about 93% on the short answer and essay sections. When added to the multiple choice section, the overall score was a C- (71%).
So how in the world did I justify putting an A- in the gradebook? Well, it definitely required taking a step back (which takes time and effort), looking over the previous quizzes and assignments from the unit (which takes more time and effort), and developing a fair assessment for unit mastery (yep, more time and effort). This kid is easily an A- student in my science class, so what happened? I went through a ton of questions, and came to the conclusion that none of my previous assessments were multiple choice, so I ended up throwing that section out, for the most part.
But that's not fair! Well, I don't really care about your selfish, lazy interpretation of fairness. My fairness as a teacher requires a megaton of time and effort.
My thinking here goes back to a definition of fairness that I learned years ago as a teacher. Fairness isn't treating everyone the same. Fairness is giving everyone what they need. This works in the classroom, and in the dojo. It also works at home and with your friends.
We tend to not want to view it this way because it requires a deal more time and effort.
The next time someone fails you, ask yourself if you've given them what they need to succeed. Parents, did you give clear directions? Teachers, did you share precise instructions and expectations? High expectations are great, but we've got to make sure we can break those big goals down into smaller, attainable benchmarks. This is the way to begin practicing my idea of fairness.
Not perfect, but always trying,