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"Tough" Conversations with Children | Equity vs. Equality

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

As I’m sitting here getting a pedicure, I’m annoyed to have shitty service and no Wi-Fi.

Which brings me to beginning this blog post. Because I can’t scroll TikTok, listen to Apple Music, or watch some stories on Instagram.

Oh, the dramatics.

I’m getting a $50 pedicure, the Luxurious Spa Pedicure (that includes a salt soak, sugar scrub, leg mask, and hot stones (quite a steal for $50, right?).

And while I type, I think about privilege.

About what's fair and what ain't.

I think back to the conversation I’ve recently had with my children about equity vs. equality.

Such a difference between the two.

A couple weeks back, my 7 year old was complaining, as children do.

Canon is all about “fair, fair, fair” and thinks he should always get exactly what his other siblings get.

I had to explain to him that it doesn’t make sense to give all five of them the same treatment.

I used Hero for an example.

I told Canon, if he wanted me to treat him equal to Hero, he would have to start wearing diapers and then I could change his butt again.

He laughed and said that wouldn’t be fair.

No, no, no— I reminded him. He wanted things to be equal, after all.

Equality: Evenly distributed tools and assistance.

Equity: Custom tools that identify and address inequality.

We then discussed equity, and what that looks like at school considering some kids don’t have the same tools, finances, and privileges that others have.

I know some conversations seem big and scary to have with your children, but I promise you they’re far more empathetic than the average adult.

Sometimes, more empathetic than some of our fellow educators.

And here I am, internally pouting over Wi-Fi and texts going through as green.

Accessibility is a huge issue here Nationally— and if we’re thinking of others, globally as well.

Think of the students who sit in the seats before you.

Do they have access to all of the tools they need to succeed in even the basic educational expectations.

Do they have full bellies when they come to school? And if they do not, does your school offer an option for free breakfast? For free lunch?

Mine doesn’t— there’s no free or reduced program for lunches, so if a kid doesn’t bring one from home, they are not offered one for free.

I am not scrutinizing my school for this, but rather reminding teachers that no matter what the societal views that are placed on your school, there’s going to be children there that are hungry.

This has lead to me buying lunch for a certain student 4-5 days a week. They don’t even have to ask, if they show up during lunch, I know it means they are in need of a lunch today.

While I’m fortunate enough to have extra funds from Kinda Sorta Teacher, things always haven’t been that way. I’m extremely grateful to have the opportunity to pay $5-$7 for this students school lunch. In my head I remind myself that selling one resource per day covers the cost of this overpriced lunch.

And for that, I thank you all.

Now that my long lunch rant is over lemme get back on track— do students have proper shelter? An emotionally supportive grown up at home? Clothing that is seasonally appropriate and sized correctly?

Do they have access to a device and sustainable wifi at home to student for that test you’ve been lecturing them about? To review materials for the state standardized test that will be thrust upon them at the end of the year? To finish that work they couldn’t stay awake to complete in class? To see what they missed on Google Classroom when they were out sick or playing hooky because their parents were too sleepy or hungover to get them to school yesterday morning?

We forget these things.

Well, at least I forget.

And now sitting here without Wi-Fi has brought me to a harsh reminder.

While teaching is tough, sometimes being a kid is rough too.

Students do not get to choose their parents.

While this isn’t a blanket excuse for disruptive behaviors, lack of work ethic, or the mistreatment of their peers— we have to remember shit can be hard at home.

When I think back to my childhood, I now realize things weren’t safe. They weren’t healthy. They weren’t appropriate.

I came to school fed and with a smile.

But there’s some students who will not carry those burdens with such ease.

And we must remember that.

Maybe you remember that already. This is really me, reminding myself, that I must remember that.

We cannot compare our struggles and behaviors to that of children.

Teacher life is tough— but so are we.

We are tough.

And we are doing enough.

Just offer a bit of grace and love as we enter this last haul.

Be kind to yourself.

And be kind to your students.

We all are fighting battles nobody knows about.

Hugs, love, and lots of kisses.



Ty Tiger | Kinda Sorta Teacher

1 comment

1 Comment

Renita King
Renita King
Apr 12, 2022

This was right on time! Excellent commentary! I have been a fan of your works for a while now. Thank you for echoing what so many educators feel!

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