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Don't Bug Me

By Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller

Some kids are afraid of bugs. Others are not. Some teachers are afraid of bugs. Others are not. So it was not an insignificant situation when a bug recently landed on the shoulder of an unsuspecting second-grader.

The  bug, perhaps even a spider, wasn't noticed by the child who was being invaded.  Other children noticed and began getting agitated.  When the teacher realized what was happening, she immediately stopped the class and demonstrated skillful Teacher Talk:

"Oh, my goodness!   Look at this . . . you are so fortunate!   What an honor that he chose to land on you . . . let me just help you . . .” as she swept up the offending vermin with her bare hand, showed it to the children, and pointed out its bug anatomy. Later, she walked to the door and gently released the bug outside. 

How did the children react as this teacher responded to the bug? They stopped in their tracks and  their agitation ceased as fear was replaced with fascination. The targeted child never spooked. Embarrassment was averted. Instead, he appeared to be happy to be in the spotlight.

Before the bug was released, this teacher helped her students learn two important lessons. First, the careful examination of the insect taught children about the importance of scientific observation. Second, they learned that unexpected circumstances do not have to be the signal for hysterical behavior.

This teacher transformed what could have been an embarrassing, fearful incident into an opportunity for learning and for an honor to be bestowed on a student chosen by a bug. She is clearly a Spirit Whisperer.


Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. Chick has also written Spirit Whisperers: Teachers Who Nourish a Child's Spirit. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free monthly e-zine for educators. To sign up for it or obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your professional staff development needs, visit their website today: