Please don’t judge until I have a chance to explain. To this day I still harbor some regret at the loss.
It all started when I moved back into a grade-level classroom and decided that my theme should be superhero based. A colleague shared with me that her grandson was moving and could no longer keep his pet Beta, Batman. As a result, she gave him to me, and of course, Batman fit with the decor perfectly.
Batman’s tank had a logo-themed background, black rocks, and a Bat Mobile as a safe haven from crazy, bug-eyed 3rd graders. It was a class job to ensure he was fed once a day, and a morning routine to say hello.
That was until one morning when I walked in and noticed Batman floating at the top of his tank. I glanced at the clock realizing students would enter within minutes. In sheer panic, I pulled Batman out of his tank and threw him away! I felt horrible at the lack of a proper toilet flush burial, but had no other choice.
On cue, the kids entered and began their rounds. It didn’t take long to realize Batman was missing. Thinking I was protecting them, I grabbed his tank and moved it to a more secluded spot, claiming he just needed a break from the day-to-day. They didn’t question too much, wish him a speedy recovery, and moved on.
You can probably imagine what I did immediately after school that day. At 4:15, I ran out and successfully purchased an almost identical Batman as his successor. Thinking to myself the kids will never know. No heartache. No loss. No explanations.What a relief! I was now out of the woods, and ready to resume normalcy.
Not long after, I sadly managed to kill Batman for the second time and decided to raise the white flag. It was a wash and I had to admit to my students what truly happened.
As I’m recapping the story, it was surprising to see how resilient they were, and even experienced with the loss of fish. They were extremely reassuring, and even suggested trying another animal. I said I’d take it into consideration, but needed time to heal.
It was really comforting to see how supportive my students were, and need to remember they provide a teacher with strength throughout the year as we do for them. Despite killing Batman twice, it was a great lesson learned for me. And to this day, I can’t muster up enough courage to bring fish back into the classroom.