Teacher’s Pets

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These eye-catching fish happily coexist with Ms. Friedman in the science wing.(Photos courtesy of JerEcho)

Aside from classrooms filled with high school students, a select few have furry friends and feisty fish. These additions to the classroom often bring smiles and fun, and help relieve stress.

The third-floor science classrooms are filled with a variety of organisms. Living Environment teacher Ms. Friedman said, “There’s a lot of living things in there, so when we do our lab on life functions, it’s a great place to go and get a sample, and there are algae and worms and small microscopic animals.”

This is Munchkin. She is a Brindle guinea pig who is very shy and likes to spend time in her hut, or in this bag of grass.

Ms. Friedman was able to obtain some of her classroom pets from grants for which she applied. Ms. Friedman said, “The Petco grant is the one that I applied for, and it’s up to $100. You just apply and write what you want to use the pet for.”

While many students have shown concern for the cloudy, green fish tanks and worry that the fish might be neglected. This isn’t the case. Sophomore Sydney B. said, “Around the first week of school, I noticed a green fish tank on the side of the classroom and I questioned whether the fish were healthy or not.”

This is Oreo. She is a Magpie guinea pig who likes to run around in her playhouse and loves to snack on hay.

Ms. Friedman was able to clarify these confusions. “You get a balance between the algae. The more algae you see, there’s probably more fish. If the fish died, there would be a lot fewer algae. The fact that it’s green and full of plants is good,” she said.

Aside from the fish tank confusion, freshman Mila F. said, “I would love to have pets in more of the classrooms. It would be perfect for almost everyone.”

Ms. Friedman says, “I think it’s nice, something to take the student’s minds off things, like a nice stress relief, you know? They’re so cute and cuddly.”

Sophomore Ajani S. said, “I think having classroom pets is so cool. I knew about the fish but I didn’t know there were more animals.”

Living Environment teacher Ms. Friedman.

Throughout the course of last year, many students grew fond of the guinea pigs in the back of Ms. Friedman’s classroom. Junior Tiffany G. said, “The best part of having the guinea pigs around was that they brought joy to the day and was something I always looked forward to seeing. A class pet can teach children important values like empathy, compassion, and responsibility for other living things. Having them in class also definitely helps with relieving stress, in my opinion.”

Senior Michelle R. added, “I think classroom pets provide students with a stress-free outlet that allows them to have independence.”

Although there are mixed emotions on animals in a classroom setting, many students are optimistic about the addition of pets in their classes. Sophomore Sydney B. said, “I can’t wait to take a closer look at these pets!”

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