As a teacher, you see every possible thing imaginable in the classroom. And the craziness only changes and morphs from preschool through college. There’s always going to be the odd kid who eats his boogers, or the kid who talks to dead people (seriously), but one of the most entertaining (and frustrating) situations is students acting like animals.
Students Acting Like Animals
If you teach in elementary school, you’ve likely had an experience with students acting like animals. This story was shared by Liz Carlson. Her Instagram page, She Loves Teacher Humor is followed by over 70,000 folks who love memes as much as she does.
Several years ago, a good friend and I were teaching fourth grade. We each had interesting students that year with similar attributes.
My Student is a Dog
I had one who thought he was a dog. He literally walked on all fours, barked, panted, growled, scratched behind his ears, and refused to be called by his real name. He wished to be called Bingo, his dog’s name. My teaching assistant and I made the mistake of answering him when he asked what our dogs’ names were. He started to call me Timber and her Sasha. He addressed the other students by their dogs’ names as well (Oreo, Max, Daisy, etc.).
This behavior was going to have to change, and the sooner, the better. By the end of the first month, we had persuaded him that he could not engage in any dog-like behavior in class or call anyone by dog names. However, the deal we made with him was that if he behaved like a human in class, he could be a dog as much as he wanted during recess.
For the entire year, and I mean the ENTIRE school year, he crawled around on the playground on all fours, regardless of the weather (and I taught in Canada, where our school was built on swampland.) He would often come back inside soaked with mud, but he didn’t seem to care.
The following year he entered fifth grade, which means he started middle school. He had completely dropped the dog routine but became extremely obsessed with The Mamas and The Papas sixties singing group and spent the year speaking their lyrics in place of normal conversation. As a big fan of the group, I was just a tad jealous that he didn’t share that part with me. I could have handled that.
My Student is a Chicken
My friend’s special little fourth grader thought he was a chicken and had imaginary chickens that surrounded him.
He constantly clucked in class. Occasionally, he squawked and announced he was about to lay an egg. My friend tried many things to try to get him to stop, with varying success. Sometimes requesting that he put his chickens back in their pen would work. But the problem seemed to be getting worse as the year dragged on.
One day, several months into the school year, she had totally had it. Fed up with the constant distraction and at her wit’s end, she pulled out an imaginary gun, pretended to shoot his chickens, and informed him that his chickens could no longer cluck because they were all dead. And he had better not bring any more chickens to class because she would shoot them too.
At first, he was paralyzed with shock. Then he quietly cried a bit. But after that, his chickens disappeared completely.
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My Student Acts Like an Animal
Alright, teachers. It’s time to sound off in the comments! Did you ever have to teach students acting like animals? If so, how did you handle the situation?
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Liz Carlson is a retired elementary school teacher from Alberta, Canada. She says that laughter helped her make it through 35 years in the school system. You can follow her on Instagram @shelovesteacherhumor where she “mostly posts memes.”