Well darn! I've got furry friends, and I've learned a lot from them! How can I possibly skip this linky?! Alright, alright, it is vacation and I did promise my husband I'd lay off the blogging this week...but surely that doesn't apply to linky parties right?! In my defense, everyone is still asleep - we were out waaaay late last night! So, what I do before everyone is awake doesn't count, right?!
Good, glad you all agreed! On to my first pet:
This is Mr. Nibbles. When I found him he was a scrawny fluff ball, covered in fleas and malnourished. He was at the home of a hoarder and the Humane Society had directed me there for a kitten since there were so many. I could smell the house from the driveway friends, it was that bad. When the man brought out a box of tiny little kittens I wanted to take it and run, but I controlled myself, barely. My kids were fighting over some of the other kittens, but as soon as I saw this little guy I knew he was the one. I did briefly consider taking more than one and trying to find it a good home once it was healthy but I knew the Humane Society was planning on coming to investigate the situation so I left with just one:
The next day I called the Humane Society and offered to cover the vet bills for a few of the kittens to help out. Turns out, they had taken one look at the kittens and had them all euthanized, figuring that the money and time spent to help them could be better used elsewhere. I learned two lessons from that - sometimes I should follow my gut and do what I know is right rather than waiting for someone else to come take care of it. This definitely applies to teaching - sometimes things need to get done and you can't wait for the principal or team leader to get around to it. The other thing I learned is that you shouldn't give up on something just because it might be expensive or take too much time/energy. Mr. Nibbles is a healthy, loving cat and the only thing I had to spend on him was time, love and attention. You can't give up on a kid just because it might be tough to deal with them - spend your time, love and attention on those "throw away" kids and you'll get it back tenfold!
Next up are our new puppies - Lola and Max. They are a handful and a half! They have really taught me not to sweat the small stuff: Here's a picture of Max trying to look innocent after slaughtering a stuffed animal.
They chew up anything left within reach. Which means that in the first few weeks, they got into a lot! Luckily none of it was too important, which, when you think of it, pertains to a lot of the things that we stress over in class too. A lot of times, before I step in to redirect a student I ask myself if it's something that can be ignored. I try not to sweat the small stuff, which leaves me more energy to devote to larger issues. Prevention is the other lesson I've learned from Max and Lola. If we don't want it chewed, we put it away, as simple as that! Lots of issues in the classroom can be dealt with in advance too - look at classroom set up from a child's point of view, try out lessons in advance to identify potential problems, and make sure you have a plan for those unexpected moments when a lesson runs short and you have extra time.
Finally, my late dog Panzer, taught me that you should never judge a book by its cover.
Although she was a rottweiler, she didn't have a vicious bone in her body. She was the most sweet, gentle-natured dog and yet many people were intimidated by her. In fact, while she was alive we couldn't live on base because rottweilers are on the restricted breed list. This translates to the classroom too - don't listen to what others say about your students - get to know them on their own. If they're from a family that everyone knows for all the wrong reasons, make sure to get to know each child as an individual and not as brother to so-and-so. If you get a new student, take the time to get to know them before you read what the old teacher had to say. A lot of times I've been astonished by the difference in the behavior reported by previous teachers and what I see in my own classroom. Don't allow yourself to rush to judgement or lump a child into an undesirable category.
Alright, you might have noticed that this is posting at night - had to pause for vacation stuff. Now everyone is back in bed again, so I thought I'd finish this up before I hit the hay too. Make sure you head over to Soaring Through Second Grade to link up too!