As teachers, you have the unique opportunity of being a human role model when it comes to your classroom pet. This includes consistently providing required care for your classroom pet, establishing clear rules for humane treatment of your classroom pet and diligently supervising your students in their interactions with the pet.
As a teacher with a pet in the classroom, you have the ability to show students how to properly care for pets and to develop skills that will last a lifetime. You can also play a role in offering your students all of the benefits that come along with a classroom pet – increased self esteem, learning responsibility and developing stronger social skills.
Participating in the daily care of a classroom pet teaches children responsibility, and with you as a role model you can be sure your students will leave your classroom with a strong commitment to caring for any pet. Helping to take care of a pet gives a child a sense of pride and accomplishment, especially if the animal is able to return the affection. In fact, studies conducted by the Waltham Centre have shown that children with pets have higher levels of self-esteem than those without pets. Many types of classroom pets love human contact and can become a child’s best buddy. Kids can even develop strong human animal bonds with non-responsive animals such as fish or turtles. These relationships help to strengthen a child’s social skills, giving them the potential to do better in a school setting.