Early last week, we received a staff email about an animal assembly scheduled for Friday. I had no idea what that would entail, but dutifully scheduled it into my plans and got my class sufficiently enthused. (One of the beautiful parts about teaching 2nd grade is that you don't have to know what's going on, as long as you bill things as a "special surprise!") I could only assume we would be seeing and/or learning about some animals. I was admittedly uneasy, thinking it might include...some certain species which are neither cute nor cuddly. But come 9am, off we went! We filed into the gym, where the kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades were gathering. My class was last into the room and sat in the back of the group. I eyed the display warily, taking in the cages and containers concealed by cloth. Coffee cup in hand, I told my kids they would love it.
Our presenter was wonderful. He did a fantastic job with our students the entire time. They LOVED it. After telling us about himself, the presenter started to talk about what he brought with him. When he said, "I did not bring any spiders with me," I took note of his tone. I started to work it out in my head...and on instinct alone, I started my way toward the door. Quickly. I was almost there when he called me out. Our kids turned and saw me and we all had a laugh. The presenter smiled and reassured us that no one would get hurt and he would not make me come any closer. He also noted that I had figured out what was coming.
And then he brought out a tarantula. A tarantula that filled his hand. HIS HAND, you guys. Once he announced that what he brought was NOT a spider, I immediately decided that he would choose to talk about arachnids vs. spiders, and my brain went to tarantula. Caught in the act, I walked back to my class. And we were fine. I mean, I wasn't really looking that closely. But we were fine! Until he started addressing a question about tarantulas jumping. He asked my name and said I was going to help him demonstrate how far they could jump. I admit, I froze. He told me to stay in the back of the crowd and hold out my hands. I remained frozen. One of my students caught my eye and said, "You can just try!" That was too cute and encouraging and I resigned myself to my fate. I assumed it would all be ok and I trusted him, but still...stuck in the moment and all. He told me to put my coffee cup down. "You're a role model!" he laughed. Ok. Just try. Role model. Role model. Coffee cup down. Hands out. Brave face.
FUN FACT: Tarantulas can't jump! It was a teaching thing, guys. He held onto her the whole time and I remain a tarantula holding virgin. (Which I am totally comfortable with and shall remain until the end of my days.)
We had fun. We saw a snake (also not that exciting for me, but the kids loved it) and then some seriously cool things I'd never seen. The BEST part was the fennec fox. I was smitten.
FUN FACT 2: Foxes are my power animal. It's a long story.
My class honestly had an amazing time and we talked about animals (and my hesitance toward arachnids) for a good part of the afternoon. Go ahead, tell me you have a cooler job.
Well...except the tarantulas. BUT BESIDES THAT, I have the best job.