Many teachers and parents may think of TikTok as a time-waster, especially as they see kids spending countless hours swiping from video to video and viral trend to viral trend.
Teachers, though, are resourceful people and some have found ways to connect to one another and boost morale through the video platform. An online, professional camaraderie has led to teachers finding inspiration to carry on with a career that is challenging in the best of times, and almost impossible during situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. (Trust me, I used to teach!)
Teachers are even using TikTok to share ideas on how to keep kids motivated, and one of the biggest recent trends in classroom management is the use of adorable desk pets that teachers can let their students “adopt” when they earn it.
What is a desk pet? According to internet legend, first-grade teacher Marissa Begay (@theycallmemrsb on TikTok), posted a video in 2020 about rewarding students with their own desk pet (animal-shaped erasers) and using them as incentives.
@theycallmemrsb Go to target before they sell out! 😋 #teacher #teachersoftiktok #fyp #foryou #FanEdit #STEMLife ♬ original sound – Mrs.Begay (Marissa)
What started out as a fun way to transform simple erasers into something meaningful to kids has exploded into an entire movement in education. Many teachers now use these desk pets not only as a reward system for good behavior but also as a way to build responsibility and maturity in the classroom.
One teacher who goes by @kaylaraenelson on TikTok shared how she uses desk pets to “keep an eye” on students’ work and progress throughout the day and then, at the end of the week, if the students do a good job, they get to take theirs home.
@kaylaraenelson Desk Pets! #teachertok #fyp #deskpets #firstgradeteacher #tiktokteacher ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey
Other teachers are incorporating adoption papers and have very specific guidelines on how these little items get integrated into the classroom, such as Kaylee Miller-Owen’s Pet Desk Adoption Center, also seen on TikTok.
@kayplusteacher Desk Per Adoption day was the BEST! Here’s some more info about our desk pets! #disney #teachersoftiktok #disneyclassroom #deskpets #disneyteacher ♬ Happy and fun corporate music for advertising. – TimTaj
Some kids love these desk pets so much they even build homes and habitats for them. On Twitter, teacher Amelia Bennet shared photos of some of the tiny homes her students had built, and they are so creative!
— Mrs. Amelia Bennett (Leng) (@Mrs_Bennett_3) February 24, 2021
Whatever it takes to keep kids interested in learning is a win for everyone! Here’s to teachers for once again going beyond the call.