On Roadkill, Bugs, & Other Critters: This is all about showing respect for all living things…all of them! Read Part 1 here.
Part 2: Don’t kill the bugs!
One thing that they taught us during our teacher training was that as educators, we have to be very careful not to transfer our own feelings about certain topics to the children.
For example, if you did not enjoy math when you were in school (ahem), you have to be careful about the way you present math lessons (your tone of voice, choice of words, etc.) and even the way you talk about math. What you want to prevent is the child picking up (consciously or unconsciously) negative associations with that subject, affecting his/her own feelings towards it.
This goes for your feelings about bugs and certain animals. One instructor encouraged us to get reptile as a class pet because you want to foster a love of all animals in children, not just the cute and fuzzy ones. This is especially true for girls, to whom the small, cute, fluffy animals are most directed.
We want to show children that all living things are important and deserve our care and respect, like people.
The hardest one for me was…worms.
I really, really, really do not like worms. They give me such a, how do you say…I-think-I-just-threw-up-a-little-in-my-mouth feeling when I see them. Shudder.
So a challenge for me was during recess when kids would come up to me and shove a worm into my face saying excitedly, “Look, look at this Mrs. MM!”
To which I replied (with careful consideration of my words and gag reflex suppression): “Janey, that’s great! Worms are such an important part of our ecosystem, aren’t they? Don’t forget to put it back in a safe place and wash your hands when you go in from recess!”
Janey: (Eagerly) “Do you want to pet him?”
Mrs. MM: (Inward shudder, outward smile) “No, thank you. I can’t right now because you should wash your hands before and after handling animals and I can’t leave the playground to wash my hands right now. Thank you for the offer.”
(Don’t get me started on the recess when five different kids came up to me to show me the dead mother worm and the hoard of baby worms surrounding it…I’m getting all squeamish just typing that!)