Alberta teacher and human education advocate:
Susan Guba, a recently retired teacher, believes humane education plays a vital role in the classroom. Susan has been a long time champion of Alberta SPCA education programs, particularly the book lending program AnimalTales, which helps to build empathy and literacy. Throughout her 15-year teaching career, Susan has taught in three different colony schools in Alberta. Over this time, she has incorporated AnimalTales into her teachings on a regular basis. Susan appreciates that the picture books in the program help facilitate discussion and the activities are centered around compassion towards animals, people, and the environment. Susan noted, “Not only are picture books enjoyable to read and visually attractive, they also promote critical thinking, resulting in some very thought provoking discussions.”
Susan believes that each book teaches an important lesson. She remembers her students shedding a tear for Chicu, the parrot, as they read about his journey in Always Blue for Chicu. They learned the importance of doing research to understand the physical and mental needs of animals before committing to a new pet. Her students explored the needs of chickens while building chicken coop models out of recycled materials, after reading Sonya’s Chickens.
Susan is a proponent of integrating humane education in the classroom. She believes that people who demonstrate kindness and compassion towards animals tend to treat each other in the same manner. Living by this philosophy she has always been one to model kindness, such as picking up and relocating an insect or spider found in her home or classroom. Susan was thrilled when her students started to pick up this habit!
When asked what she will miss most about teaching Susan responded, “Reading books aloud to my students! I am an avid reader myself and have added quite an extensive variety of books to my private collection, including a few of the AnimalTales books! My plan is to continue reading aloud to my grandchildren and anyone else who enjoys listening to a good book!”
We wish Susan all the best in her retirement and thank her for sharing her love of animals and modelling compassion for every living thing with her students. Her impact will continue to be felt far beyond the classroom.