We asked teachers to send in pictures of their pets along with an explanation of how the animal helps them in their profession.
Not only is Aspen an amazing member of my family, she is also a registered therapy dog. At Wheatland Elementary, where I teach, Aspen has become a familiar face. I take her on walkabouts through the school, where students and staff continually stop to say hello. She also attends the occasional assembly.
Aspen’s role has included supporting the Grade 6 students during their recent immunizations and working with Wheatland students one on one to provide emotional support. Currently, my Montessori 2–3 class is involved in a video project featuring Aspen in her therapy role. My class wants to teach others what a therapy dog is and how they help others.
Wheatland Elementary School, Strathmore
Minty helps me remember that work–life balance is important. On the days that the marking must be done, she makes a great supervisor.
Central Memorial High School, Calgary
Parker comes to the school in April for my class’s Jolly Old England day (we celebrate all things English for the Queen’s birthday). He also helps me every day when I get home to get out and get active FIRST... and then to sit down and relax (while petting him).
Dr. Hamman Elementary School, Taber
Cotton is our class pet, but I welcome his company before and after school when working long hours by myself. The students connect with him during the day, and taking care of him helps them develop empathy.
Donalda School, Donalda
Yuki and Yatta
Yuki (dog) and Yatta (cat) try to help me in my profession in many ways. They’ve offered to complete my daily marking and have taken an interest in lesson planning. Yuki would like to think that her focus area is innovative ideas, whereas Yatta is much more involved with problem solving. After a few failed attempts at these tasks, we’ve agreed their role is greeting me after school. I’m more than willing to share the events of my day with them, and they’re fantastic listeners.
Jack Stuart School, Camrose
Amiga is one of my two pups. They both like to join outdoor school events like the Turkey Trot, Terry Fox Run, Hike Day and the Halloween parade. Students who otherwise wouldn’t participate are eager to walk with a dog. My dogs have become the unofficial school mascots! More importantly, they help me find a work-life balance by not staying at school too late and breathing fresh, mountain air every day on our forest walks.
Banff Community High School, Banff
This is a picture of Luci. She has been coming to school off and on for over six years. She does amazing work with the students. As a school counsellor, I’m lucky to have such a sweet, sensitive, empathetic co-worker who really knows how to help children when they are having a tough day!
Our Lady Queen of Peace School, Airdrie
Jax helps me in many ways. He’s always down for a good cuddle after work, no matter what kind of day I’ve had! And I have some great stories about him that I can share with my students to create stronger relationships.
Michael A. Kostek School, Edmonton
My classroom pets are three hermit crabs named after the characters from Mr. Dressup: Casey, Finnigan and Ernie Coombs. They help me make connections with the shyer kids in class and with teaching care and respect. They also help with volume control as the kids will see them move around if the classroom noise is not too high.
Kinuso Community School, Kinuso