We have a classroom guinea pig, and I wouldn’t trade him for the world! He has brought so many shared experiences for our class that we have laughed until we have cried over. He has even been therapy for students with emotional/social difficulties over the year.
Last week, however, we almost cried over Mr. Squeakers for an entirely different reason.
It was Friday afternoon, and my wife came to visit our classroom to bring delicious Betty’s cupcakes. If you haven’t tried them, you really MUST! I was excited because it was going to be our first chance to take Mr. Squeakers out of his cage and introduce him to the students.
Boy, were the students excited! They could barely contain their excitement (or ooooh’s and ahhhh’s) as I gently placed him on the floor in the center of all the students. I reminded them of the importance of sitting knee to knee and give Mr. Squeakers a two finger pet. Of course, this the same lecture I give my students every year.
On Thursday, Mr. Squeakers must have been feeling particularly energetic. As soon as I set him down, he began to popcorn (jump around), and he ran straight towards a little girl with blonde curls. Before I could say a word, he dashed between her knees and disappeared out of sight behind the central heating unit.
My jaw dropped, and the students just stared at me. I couldn’t think of what to say, but thank goodness my wife had the presence of mind to dismiss the students to their seats.
“Is he gone?” one student shouted. To be honest, I had no idea. My gut instinct decided that he was probably a goner. How would I handle the tears and agony (let alone the smell) of our poor guinea pig’s demise?
“It’ll be alright,” I managed to say. Meanwhile, my wife laid down on the carpet and dug her tiny arms behind the heating unit. Within seconds, she pulled out a squealing, squirming, unhappy pig.
“Thank the lord!” I shouted out.
“He’s alive!” The students proclaimed. Needless to say, whenever we take Squeakers out of his cage, we now have a protective fence to surround him. No more heart attacks for me or the students!
Let’s continue to be stewards of ALL learners! (even little class pets like Squeakers)