Charming or Distracting?


Shaun comfortable resting on the arm of a student. Photo by Ella Bitterman

Kai Smith, Staff Writer

Class pets are something most kids get excited about, especially if they are allowed to play with the pet. Unfortunately for students, the concept of having a class pet has diminished in recent years. Whether this is because teachers don’t want to take care of the animal long-term, or students are too distracted with the animal in the classroom is unknown. However, in the case of high school classes, most science teachers continue to have class pets. One of these teachers is Mrs. Glover, a biology teacher.  

One of Mrs. Glover’s animals is a dwarf hamster named Shaun, who has celebrity-like status amongst Mrs. Glover’s current and previous students. While Shaun is almost always burrowing in her tank, she also seems to enjoy being able to run around in the arms of students. On the occasion that Shaun isn’t in the mood for running around, she enjoys sleeping in hoods and sleeves.  

“There are times when Shaun can be distracting, but for the most part I think the benefits of having Shaun in the room outweigh the distracting nature of having a pet in the room,” says Mrs. Glover. When asked about said benefits, she says, “from what students have said, having a classroom pet lowers the stress that they’re experiencing and makes them feel like they have another reason to come to school, not just to see their friends but to check on the classroom pets and make sure everything’s going okay with them.” 

While some kids don’t want to interact with class pets, most do. “Some students don’t ask ever to hold Shaun, but I would say, in some classes there are more people, there’s usually four to five people in each class that want to hold Shaun.” 

According to Mrs. Glover, most teachers no longer have class pets because “it’s one more thing that they have to remember to do. While there is a classroom pet program that gets you started having a pet, you do have to buy the stuff every month or so that it takes to maintain the pet, like the bedding, the food. Over a long break, if you don’t live in a place that is conducive for taking a pet home then you are stuck with this quandary of what to do with your pet.” 

While only a fraction of students will have the experience of a class pet, it seems as though class pets are more beneficial than distracting for students.