Most of us have heard the story of Mary who had a little lamb that followed her to school one day.
We know that’s just a nursery rhyme, though. Animals don’t belong in a classroom.
Or do they?
One little ginger cat in Izmir, Turkey decided that he wanted to go to school. So, he sauntered into an elementary school and decided to stay.
Özlem Pınar Ivaşcu taught third grade at the school and couldn’t have been more surprised when the cat walked into the classroom like he belonged there.
But how might the children react? And would the cat be too afraid to stick around?
Well, the kids were all excited and in fact, the mystery cat loved all the attention!
It seemed like a win-win situation.
The cat got a great new home, and the kids were learning a lot of valuable life lessons that are often difficult for humans to teach.
Animals can teach us a great many things we can’t learn from books!
And the teacher is just fine with the scenario:
“He started coming into my class and the children enjoyed his presence,” Özlem remembers.
“When he first joined our class, I noticed a change in the children’s behavior.
They were more careful and stopped running around in the classroom.
They couldn’t wait to come back to school the next morning (which is remarkable for some 9-year-old children).“
Everyone was happy with the situation…well, almost everyone.
One of the child’s parents decided they didn’t want a cat in their child’s classroom. So, they demanded that he be removed.
The poor children were heartbroken. So, they took to Facebook trying to find the perfect home for their new feline friend that they had named Tombi.
But before letting him go to his new home, they took Tombi to a local vet for a checkup.
Several of the kids went along and after receiving a clean bill of health, Tombi left to go to his new home.
The kids were so sad to see him leave, though. He had become their friend!
Tombi wasn’t happy about things, either. So he went to live with Mrs. Özlem, which seemed like the perfect solution:
“He didn’t seem to be happy in the house and didn’t get along with the other cat already living there.
For three days Tombi didn’t eat almost anything.
So together with my husband, we decided to take Tombi back and kept him in our house,” Özlem related.
The kids were glad that Tombi was closer than he had been, but they still missed their feline buddy and wrote letters and drew pictures to cheer him up.
Eventually, Tombi’s story spread all over social media. The school administration heard the story, and even the parent who had objected changed her mind.
Well, how could you not? This kitty obviously makes everyone feel great about themselves!
So Tombi went back to school!
“With their great support, we decided to return Tombi to school,” Özlem said.
And coming back into the classroom was all it took to restore Tombi to his former, happy self.
The kids were happy to have him back, and obviously the classroom was where Tombi wanted to be!
Although Tombi appears to be enthralled with all of the kids lessons, he has turned out to be a good teacher too.
“Tombi has taught them to be more responsible,” Özlem said.
The kids have learned to be gentle with him, and that makes them better with all animals.
So, now along with readin and ‘ritin and ‘rithmetic, some lucky kids can add “pet the cat” to their daily school routine. 😉