Sometimes you just have to play along. One of the very few sentimental objects I possess is my cat Fluffy, given to me by my students 19 years ago. As a new teacher searching for a way to spice up the many word problems we do, I started inserting a cat named Fluffy into my classroom examples. They quickly demanded that she regularly appear in notes and on tests. At the end of that exhausting year as a new teacher, the students gave me a “real” Fluffy for my classroom. I put our new class mascot high up on the intercom box in my old classroom where she’d be fairly safe. But then every year or two she would take an unexpected leave of absence for awhile…
Over the years students have:
- sent me funny ransom notes
- brought me all sorts of oddball snapshots of Fluffy about town, playing videogames, going on dates, etc.
- made a Colorado ski adventure video with her
- taken Fluffy to London (!)
- made a ransom video with her being threatened with a gun (that one really bothered me)
- re-enacted class examples on video with Fluffy and, thank goodness, a stunt double
- left her in the jaws of the Bruin statue at the prom
They have a great time doing this, but I am always fearful that something dreadful will happen to her. So when we built a new science wing, I had a special glass cabinet put in at the back of the room where I could keep Fluffy on display but under lock and key. That way the students could enjoy my precious kitty but wouldn’t steal her away. Ha! Never underestimate a wily teenager. I’d get her out for a demo and someone would distract me while they snatched her. So now I usually leave her in the cabinet, but they just jimmy the cabinet door or the lock in various ways.
So this week I was only mildly surprised to find that Fluffy is gone again. Lord only knows what Fluffy will be up to, but I’ll have to trust that my friend of 19 years will come safely back to me soon. Maybe I’ll finally convert that old ski video and post it on YouTube. Or scan a bunch of those crazy Fluffy snapshots from the past two decades and post them in a Flickr account. Might as well play along, right?