Class pets are popular amongst the early years. It teaches them the responsibility to care for another living thing (those teachers who don't like pets in their classroom will often have plants and it will be someone's responsibility to make sure that the plant is getting enough water - not quite the same but I guess a plant is still a living thing).
Anywho, I've seen everything from fish to gerbils. This story is about that later.
Gerbils. What a curious little creature. They would probably roll around in those little balls for hours if we let them (although, it's not like they would have a choice because we also trap them in there). The classroom I was in this particular day had 1 gerbil and some little frogs swimming happily in their enclosure (I just watched "We Bought a Zoo" and they aren't called cages - though in this case they are probably called tanks).
I knew they had a gerbil only because it was written about in the day plan from the teacher. Only it wasn't written "we have a pet gerbil please make sure someone feeds it and changes the wood shavings in the enclosure" (she probably would have used the word cage - how barbaric of that teacher). No it was not written like that at all. Instead it was more of a "by the by we have a pet gerbil that went missing yesterday, make sure the door is closed to the classroom so that it doesn't get out... wherever it is."
"Alright" I think "we have an animal at large in here... at least it's not a snake or a spider or a swarm of bees"
The class comes in and promptly announces their beloved Buttons has gone missing... have I found him?
The day goes on and poor Buttons is still at large. His enclosure (which I might add includes those crazy tunnels and everything... quite the set up for a classroom gerbil) is still sitting empty with the door to it wide open almost welcoming Buttons back home where there is food and water and tunnels to run through.
The day is coming to an end and Buttons has not returned back home. It was with heavy hearts that I send the children out for their final recess of the day. While I close myself in the classroom and start a report back to the teacher "oh the kids were mostly good, Buttons is still at large, Bobby hit Suzy, and most of them got their math done".... you know the usual kind of note.
The recess bell rings signalling the end of recess and I stand outside the classroom waiting for my students to line up so we can come back in. On the way in they hang their jackets in the closet and take a peek inside Buttons enclosure.
But wait something is different this time.
His home is not empty there is a gerbil in there!
"Huzzah" we all shout (ok, no one shouts it... we whisper it... or perhaps we all just think it)
The mysterious and allusive Buttons has returned home. The children promptly take him out and put him in his little rolly ball so that they can now clean his cage (why they didn't clean his cage when he was missing was beyond me).
The day is over and Buttons is placed back in his enclosure with the door tightly shut. What that little rascal got into while he was out exploring is beyond any of us. I'm just thankful no one stepped on him (and that I get to look like the hero because Buttons returned on my watch and clearly me being there had something to do with his triumphant return home.