Pet Supermarket Honors a ‘Teacher’s Pet’ that Helps Students Learn

For Incorporating her Pet into Learning, a Coral Springs Teacher Wins a Pet Supermarket Contest

Forest Glen Middle School Teacher Emily Waxmunski and Ocean.

By Sharon Aron Baron

There really is a “teacher’s pet” at one Coral Springs school after an instructor was selected as Pet Supermarket’s Teacher Appreciation Week winner.

Pet Supermarket began accepting nominations in mid-April, seeking teachers who incorporated a pet or pets into their lesson planning, and Emily Waxmunski, who teaches 7th and 8th-grade language arts at Forest Glen Middle School, was one of five winners in the U.S.

Waxmunski said while they were distance learning at the beginning of the school year, her dog, Ocean, would often make her presence known during class. 

“She has a huge personality and likes to make an appearance when she knows other people are looking,” she said.

Her students quickly wanted to know more about her and see her whenever possible. When Waxmunski teaches vocabulary, she always likes to use the words in context so the students know how to use the word correctly.

“I jokingly used her in one of these examples, and it stuck,” she said. “Now whenever I feel like my kids need a clear example of how to use a word, Ocean is usually the subject of those sentences.”

Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Waxmunski has spent the last three years in South Florida.

Winners receive a $250 gift card and a $500 donation to their school from Pet Supermarket. She’s not sure what Forest Glen will use the $500 donation towards, but she is certain it will be used to the benefit of the school community.

Additionally, to reward those in the education field, Pet Supermarket is offering a 15 percent discount during Teacher Appreciation Week from May 3 through 9 to all school employees, including administrators, faculty, and staff.

Pet Supermarket’s Vice President of Marketing, Aileen Bilyeu, said this past year of teaching hasn’t been a walk in the park, as many educators have faced new challenges with virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But with those challenges, they’ve also found new opportunities to teach students unique lesson-planning utilizing animals. 

“Pet Supermarket wanted to not only supporting the educators and schools in our local communities that are engaging young minds with animals but celebrate them and encourage other teachers and classrooms to consider the many new learning possibilities that come with pets.”

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