Sullivan, the classroom canine, calls it a career
By Claire Miller | Photo by Carolyn Richardson
Kindergarten teacher Felicia Baiden looks on as Alejandra Cuevas Rosales, Daniel Martinez and Josue Martinez-Pedraza show Sullivan their artwork.
Students in Felicia Baiden's (B.Ed. '07) kindergarten class and Courtney Roberts' (B.Ed. '10) second grade class at Cary Reynolds Elementary School imagined what one of their favorite teachers will do when he retires this year, and they came up with a number of ideas.
Spending time with family, going to the beach and taking time to read some good books topped their list, but only time will tell what Sullivan, a 10-year-old Australian Shepherd who has been visiting elementary school classrooms since he was 6 months old, will choose to do with his well deserved time off.
College of Education assistant professor Laura Meyers has taken Sullivan to schools across the metro Atlanta area for almost a decade as a teaching tool. Meyers has seen Sullivan's presence inspire children to become more involved in classroom activities and give teachers new lesson plan ideas.
"I have seen children who normally sit back and observe, jump in and participate when he's in the classroom. It's amazing to see," Meyers said. "Sullivan has been the tool I've used to make a connection between skills and content development and young learners. There are so many ways to inspire those connections, and I hope Sullivan has taught teachers to keep looking for them and sharing them with their students. They're counting on you to inspire them in that way."
On Feb. 3, Baiden and Roberts, both graduates of GSU's Early Childhood Education program, threw Sullivan a retirement party to thank him for his work in their classrooms. Students shared their portraits of and stories about Sullivan - a fitting and touching send-off, as Meyers can attest.
"It was such a fun day, but rather bittersweet," she said. "Both Sullivan and I will miss our visits to the elementary schools, but I trust that he has made a positive impact on students and teachers alike."