The third grade elementary teacher explained to her students why she needs to make accommodations for some students.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on September 21, 2021.
Children's early ages and influences shape their vision for the future and that's why having good teachers is so crucial. In a world where inequity is rife, kids understanding the concept can go a long way in course-correcting the future. A 21-year-old third grade teacher, Aimee, posted a video on TikTok showing how she spells out fairness and equity to kids and it's eye-opening. Not only does it teach kids about existing inequity but it also helps them understand the need for allocation of resources to address the inequity.
Aimee posted the video on TikTok explaining how she broke it down for her students using band-aids. She asks students if they have ever bruised their elbows and naturally, the kids raised their hands. She asks one of them to narrate how they hurt their elbow before handing out band-aids to those who hurt their elbows. She then proceeds to ask them if any of them had bumped their head and a few students raised their hands. Like the first time, she asks one of them to narrate their story before carefully telling them, "Here's a band-aid for your elbow." The kids are now confused because the kid had hurt his head but she was handing him a band-aid for his elbow.
She continues, asking if any of them had scraped a knee. A few kids raise their hands. She goes through the same routine before giving the students a band-aid. "I'm so sorry you scraped your knee, here's a band-aid for your elbow," she tells them. The kids are now even more confused. She then explains to the students, "Even though I handed the same thing (band-aid), to everyone who was hurt, it wasn't helpful to most of them. She then spells it out for them, explaining that "everyone getting the same thing isn't 'fair' but being 'fair' means everyone getting what they need to be successful."
She said the kids picked up on the simple lesson and are now more empathetic and understanding in the classroom. "After this lesson, students are much more understanding when their friends with diabetes need an extra snack, when their friends with autism need noise-canceling headphones. When they're friends with someone who has ADHD and needs the fidget-spinner. It helps with everything," Aimee explained. The video went viral garnering 1.4 million likes and was viewed close to 6 million times. Many TikTok users lauded Aimee for her methods, while some called on her to teach the lessons to adults who very much needed them.
The elementary teacher also posted a follow-up video explaining it was an equity lesson. As an elementary teacher who's inclusive and supportive, she needs to make accommodations to certain students depending on what they need and other students could tell her that "it's not fair." In such situations, all Aimee needs to do is say the word "band-aid," and everyone gets it. She also explains why a teacher can't use a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and plays various scenarios that might suit one student but not another. In one example, she explains why a fidget-spinner can be very helpful to some students while it can be a distraction to others.
While Aimee's lessons are for her third graders, they really should be explaining it to adults and world leaders because the world needs to address the inequity more than ever. The wealth gap in America is a result of the inequitable distribution of wealth and its ever-widening. A band-aid might not be enough to address the gaping wound but it's a start.