After a very hard week of having to put down our wonderful dog, Toby, and watching our other dog struggle with losing her best friend, we picked up a wonderful new addition to our family on Saturday: a little cockapoo named Molly. In the midst of working these past couple of days, I’ve also been doing lots of playing and puppy training. I’ve had many opportunities to sit back and watch Miss Molly, and I realized that she’s the perfect reminder about what I think teaching and learning should be!
Play lots! Whether chasing a ball or chasing her sister, Zoe, around the house, playing for Molly is about physical activity but also learning (e.g., if I bring that ball back to my owners, they’ll throw it for me, and the playing can last longer). In the classroom, students also learn from the thinking and interactions that come with playing.
Never give up! Whether with tackling climbing the stairs or trying desperately to make a friend in Zoe, Molly continues to persevere. In the classroom, our students need to tackle challenging problems to learn how to persevere as well.
Enjoy some quiet time. Molly may like to be active, but after running and playing, she enjoys the time to sleep, lay quietly, and/or just “be.” As a teacher, I’m forever trying to balance the noise of collaboration with the quiet time of independent work. I think we all need some of both.
Set goals high. This four pound little bundle of energy is not even as long as my finger tips to my elbow, but she’s determined to be independent and get where she wants to go. In one day, she learned how to climb the stairs and even jump down from the sofa. I don’t know how she does it, but with high expectations and the drive to succeed, anyone can do anything!
Always inquire. Molly may not be able to vocalize her “I wonder” statements, but she definitely wonders lots. She wonders what will happen when she pulls on the dandelion, pushes her nose against the grass, and goes diving into the water bowl. Learning happens through these explorations, be it for puppies, adults, or children!
Think about any special pets in your life. What have they taught you about teaching and learning? What can you add to this list of mine? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Congrats on your new puppy! She looks adorable 🙂
Pets have taught me that teaching and learning take time! and that the most efficient way is definitely not the best way…that consistency and planning ahead are key…that affect and intellect are inseparable.
Also, in relation to affect and intellect, how much poverty and learning are entwined for all living things…
Thanks for the comment, Lucy! You make some wonderful points here. I never really thought of the poverty/learning connection for pets, but I can totally see that now. It’s interesting to see how humans can learn a lot just by watching our pets.
What type of dog
It’s a cockapoo.