Teacher’s Pet: Loch Ness Monster 2.0

Biology teacher Ms. Michele Miller has found a unique way to make lessons interactive with her class pet, Nessie.
Biology teacher Ms. Michele Miller has found a unique way to make lessons interactive with her class pet, Nessie.
RITHIKA GUNASEKARAN ’27

Ms. Michele Miller, a Biology teacher at Edison High School, tries to make learning a more engaging experience. A self-proclaimed outdoors person who likes to hunt, fish, and hike; Miller believes she can make learning more interesting by introducing an animal into the classroom.

“I like animals so I wanted to have one. My fourth-grade teacher had a room full of animals, and that was too excessive, but I wanted at least something alive to take care of,” said Miller.

In fact, Miller first had a bearded dragon a couple of years ago. However, there was an accident, and the lizard died. As a result, one of Miller’s students and the student’s mother worked to get a new bearded dragon for the class. It’s name is Nessie.

Nessie, a bearded dragon named after the Loch Ness monster, has been a part of Miller’s life ever since her birth five years ago on January 19, 2019. She was brought in from a pet shelter and has been a fixture in Miller’s classroom since

[It’s] nice to have something alive in the room [and] the kids like to interact with her

— Ms. Michele Miller

​​Miller describes Nessie as “chill” and “relatively easy to take care of,” only requiring mealworms, fruits, and vegetables every few days. Students are encouraged to feed and hold Nessie, an interactive experience that, according to Miller, enhances the learning environment.

Bearded dragon Nessie lounges in her enclosure in Ms. Michelle Miller’s biology classroom. (RITHIKA GUNASEKARAN ’27)

“[It’s] nice to have something alive in the room [and] the kids like to interact with her,” said Miller. According to Miller, students often stop by to feed and pet Nessie before and after classes. She believes that this is due to Nessie’s docile nature.

Miller occasionally allows students to volunteer to take Nessie home over long school breaks.

“It serves as a good experience for students who want to see what having a pet is like without the pressure of caring for a high-maintenance animal,” said Miller.

This teacher’s pet proves that science education can be comprised of textbook pages, glass beakers, and the rough scales of Nessie, the bearded r

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