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  • Sean Lowman

Of Teaching And Cats

Mr. Lowman loves cats! Everybody at Saint Andrew’s knows that. It’s the first thing the Fifth Graders tell the Fourth Graders on the day they come up to see what Middle School is like. I have a box full of cat pictures and cartoons at home from students over the last seven years. In some of them, they turned me into a cat! They have heard me talk about my cat, Barbie, many, many times. In this last year, my students got to know Barbie quite well since she started showing up to my Zoom lessons to say hi. She even dumped a glass of water down my back during one of them.

Barbie was my faithful companion for ten and a half years. But sadly, a few weeks ago, Barbie passed away, and I was devastated. I was a wreck when I showed up to work the next morning. I told my Sixth Graders the sad news and asked them to take it easy on me if I seemed distracted or down. They were sympathetic and kind that day. I made it through that Friday and had the whole weekend to deal with my feelings. On Monday, I thought I was doing okay. But when my students started arriving in homeroom, I was not prepared for the outpouring of love and sympathy from the kids that morning. I was greeted with a gift basket of candy and sodas, a beautiful poem, and a picture of Barbie ascending the Rainbow Bridge. I could barely contain my emotions. But I did manage to make it to my first planning period before I cried.

I teach those kids both social studies and language arts, as well as homeroom. So I spend a lot of time with them. I love them all, but sometimes they can drive me crazy. Just when I think that they couldn’t be more frustrating, they surprise me by showing me just how big their hearts really are.

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