My 4th grade classroom fish tank was a 75 gallon monstrosity. For a couple of years, there were only 2 fish in the tank: Bubba and Richard Nixon (Don't ask me, I have NO recollection as to why this was his name). These fish were just 2 inherited goldfish that ended up in my tank. I also inherited the rabbit and iguana that were part of that year's classroom menagerie. Because of the tank's size these fish grew to great size (well, that and the roaches. More on that later.). Richard Nixon was a fantail who became so enormous that he lost his center of gravity and eventually swam upside down all the time. Bubba was a $.69 goldfish that grew to about 12" long.
As in many classrooms and particularly those that had pets, we had a healthy brown roach population. We also had a rabbit (see "Rabbit Tales", elsewhere on the blog) in that class, so our supply of "little browns" was virtually unlimited. My students and I came to see these little victims as a great boon to our classroom. We were probably the only classroom in the country (the world?) that was happy and excited to have roaches! You see, it turned out that to Bubba and to a lesser extent, Richard Nixon these roaches were the equivalent of t bone steak, truffles, and creme brulee all wrapped up in one. Whenever a roach was deposited into the tank, Bubba would pounce, sharklike, on his prey so whenever we saw a roach (which was for better or worse, quite often), it was cause for great excitement, as we could see this primeval predator/prey dance unfold in the fishtank. This indeed was a very strange and unique "circle of life" situation.
This flood of remembrance was vividly brought back to us by Lisa Fetscher Ebersole's comment in another part of this blog. Lisa was a 10 year old in that class and came across the blog entry, "Rabbit Tales". Today, Lisa is in her mid-20's and a wife and mother. Such is the power of Pets in the Classroom that she still has vivid memories of the time she shared a classroom with Bubba, Richard Nixon, and the rabbit many years ago.