Having class pets isn’t always easy. There are a lot of requirements when it comes to owning one. Sometimes they can die, and teachers have to decide whether or not to get a new one or not.
NS teacher Bryan Holder is a science teacher who hasn’t had the “best luck” on keeping class pets. He has had three pets in his class, but all of them have died or disappeared. Holder had an axolotl named Axie, a snake that went by Atë and Holly, and a crab that Holder refused to name because he was afraid it would die.
Despite his efforts on having class pets, the axolotl and the crab both mysteriously died, and the snake was either stolen or escaped. The crab was brought in by a student and died a couple days after he got it. It could have died from a sickness. The axolotl died when Holder wasn’t at the school. He was sick and came back the next week and it was dead.
“I can’t tell you what’s happened to them because I really don’t know,” Holder said.
Even though Holder doesn’t know what has happened to the class pets, he wants more; he is going to take a break from having any class pets for now.
Though Holder has had challenges keeping class pets, the pets can be useful for students.
Class pets don’t just have to be for fun and to look at or interact with. Some teachers at NS use them for helping students to focus, they could be used for part of a class, or they can be used as therapeutic animals for some students.
“I think that the fish adds a calming aspect to my classroom,” Jens Andreasen said, “just for the sole fact that when you go to the doctor’s office, they have a fish tank that people can stare at and help with the aesthetic and create a calming environment.”
Andreasen has a fish tank with catfish and one trout in it. The fish tank gives the classroom a calming sound of the running filter. The sound can help the students to focus on getting their work done.
Students all react to the pets differently, especially when that pet is a snake.
“Half my students are freaked out and keep their distance and the other half are obsessed and want to hold him all the time,” said science teacher Digger Henrie.
Henrie has a ball python named Lucifer that students either hate or love. The snake doesn’t bite and doesn’t mind the attention it receives. Students all have their own opinion on what they think about the snake or how to react when they get the snake. The students aren’t forced to interact with the pets.
“Class pets are so fun,” said freshman Addy Jones. “I once went to a school that had class pets in every class and over the weekends a student would get to take care of it.”
Students all enjoy having class pets. Even if the pet isn’t an animal they like, it can still motivate them so they can have more time to interact with it. If the class pets are interactive, most students will be motivated to finish their class work so that they can have time with the class pet. The pets aren’t ever distracting and usually help the students to focus.
“The teachers who have the class pets don’t make the animals a distraction and the pets themselves aren’t distracting,” said freshman Kortney Mitchell.
Students see the pets in their cages and will notice how unique it is. Usually when they want to interact with the animal, they motivate themselves to get their work done so that they can do so. The pets all need their own care so that the students can interact with them. Taking care of a class pet can be lots of work.
“Class pets are kind of high maintenance, you have to go and buy a mouse every couple weeks and you have to clean their cage,” Henrie said.
Class pets can create a better experience for students in their journey through school. Even if the pets are motivational students love interacting with them or looking at them through the glass.
“There’s a lot of risk and liability in having a class pet here because some of these pets that we bring in, we think that they are cool and neat but there’s some people that might not be okay with it,” Holder said.