I remember not being particularly fond of my science teacher, because I thought he was strange, and the fact that he was scamming on my bus driver was just too much for my junior high mind to comprehend. But as soon as he installed a fish tank in the classroom, suddenly we had something to talk about, and having living creatures to look forward to made the prospect of enduring rude peers much less of an issue. I loved having something to focus on that was peaceful and somehow removed from junior high drama!
Suddenly, I wanted to know more about all animals and their care needs. And I got quite good at it. So good, in fact, that I nurtured my own "feeder" goldfish acquired in 6th grade through college and several years beyond. I even had a fish show up on my porch in a jar with a note of relinquishment!Growing up with pets providedÂ a tremendous amount of benefit in the area of nurturing and care, but coupling the human-animal bond in the classroom experience broadened my view to includeÂ wanting to understand their biologic needs and anatomy. It increased my level of curiosity, wonder, and elevated my interest and appreciation for the complexities of life as a whole.
According to PetsInTheClassroom.org,
As a shy student who wanted to slip through the cracks, this kind of program helped ease me through the awkward junior high years. And the skills I learned helped me nurture my own children and a multitude of other animals. Eventually, I even became gainfully employedÂ because of myÂ cultivated love of animals!
How have animals helped and taught you or your children?
Classroom rat photo by John Morgan.