Class pets offer unique benefits
The pets of LCHS
February 5, 2021
Rabbits, geckos, and turtles are some unusual classmates students may find themselves with here at LCHS.
Class pets teach students the responsibility of not only caring for themselves, but also for others. Despite their overwhelming cuteness and lovable behavior, pets are high maintenance and require a lot of hard work.
“Overall, I think the benefit of having animals in class is so many different things. It’s the fun factor; students enjoy being able to work with the animals. It’s the management factor, they’re learning how it would be [in the] workplace. They then get to go past that and really start thinking critically about being a part of the decision-making process,” Small Animal Care and Vet Science teacher, Mackenah Roberts said.
By presenting students with the opportunity to take care of class pets, they are able to learn important life skills, such as empathy and self-awareness. Along with this, working together to care for an animal can also create a team-like environment. Sharing responsibilities with others, like those involved with class pets, can better prepare students for life after high school.
Another benefit of class pets is that they can also stimulate learning. Students become more encouraged to come to school knowing that they have something, or someone, to look forward to.
“Class pets make me feel more comfortable and focused. They make me feel like I am in a fun and safe environment,” sophomore Abbie Hopkins said.
In addition to this, class pets serve as a bonding mechanism for many students. Pets create discussion and, in turn, help break the awkwardness students sometimes feel in social environments. Science teacher Rebecca Kazio can attest to this as she has her own class pet, a rabbit, and notices the interactions of her students as a result of the rabbit’s actions.
“When [the rabbit] chews on his box and acts like a goofball, it causes the students to giggle, and it breaks the awkward silence,” Kazio said.
Class pets can also improve students’ mental health. This was proven in a study conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) that resulted in 74% of Americans reporting an improvement in mental health as a result of comfort from their pets. Animals can help relieve stress and anxiety, as well as regulate breathing and heart rates. Considering this, it is evident that pets in the classroom can have a similar effect on students as well.
“Therapy for [students] is really priceless, the animals have healing abilities,” Kazio said.
Class pets can be an example for students to see how rewarding love and compassion are. Kudos to teachers who have adopted this creative approach to building a positive classroom climate and teaching students important life skills.