If you aren’t closely involved with a college student who is far from home, that might seem like a funny topic for a teaching blog. However, that’s not a rhetorical question. Semester after semester, I have my students create a blog. Their first entry includes a short bio and video sharing something they love to do. This helps me learn about them at the same time I assess basic tech skills. The number one actor in their mini-videos?
They love their pets; their pets do the cutest and most amazing things. And they miss them, terribly. Of course, it makes sense that at a time in life when one is doing new and challenging things a pet who loves unconditionally would be greatly missed.
One of the people in my office area at Ferris teaches the “intro to college” course, and held her student conferences last week. The number one answer when she asked how they were doing in their first semester?
They miss their pets.
Most interestingly, as I shared a cubby wall with the conference area, was the number of students who have convinced their parents to let them Facetime with their pets. For some, this is truly the highlight of their week when they get to talk to their furry best friends.
Although some might think it is silly and a waste of time to Facetime a pet, I think it is a great example of how resourceful students can be and how technology can be used creatively to solve problems. To connect with your students on a personal level without sharing too much personal information, you can use pets to create a common bond. Also, we know research supports the use of pets for mental health across all ages. One organization, if you would like to know more about the benefits of pets, is Paws with a Cause.
Try it–lighten the mood in the classroom before giving a test by trying a 1-minute funny seal video! (just search YouTube; I wouldn’t want to take the fun away from anyone by choosing for them)