Animals in My Classroom
By Marcy Froehlich, associate professor of costume design in the Department of Drama
The little yellow bird was hopping across her head, which made my student’s presentation even more cheerful. The subject was hats, so was the bird itself becoming a moving, breathing hat, or perhaps instead protesting the overuse of feathers on hats in the past? Peep had definitely become a member of our class. Did I need to issue it a grade?
The more we have become ensconced in our home schoolrooms during the pandemic, the more my students’ pets have become daily parts of our classes and meetings. From Nova, the Doberman, wiping her large handsome curious nose over the camera, to Tigger, the spotted cat, assisting with homework. Cuddles and Baby have left their furry calling cards on various projects, Jack has verbally disapproved of the day’s topic, and Story has either napped on top of a new creation or chased its composite parts across the room.
But don’t think that it’s just the students who bring their pets to meetings. Faculty and staff host howling dogs and cuddling cats. Moments of distracted cooing interrupt meaningful discussions, paws step on computer keys, which alter emails, and concentration is sometimes broken with the spotting of a surreptitious moving creature in the background.
I try to run an organized class, an organized meeting. But these creatures have been plotting to overthrow the well-oiled machine. I finally submit…and admit I will sorely miss our furry feathered friends when we return to teaching in person again.
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