Manager of the Month: Smith Sees Benefits of Bringing Dog to School

December 5, 2016



Photo by Amber Romero -- Manager Bonnie Smith, helps a scholar with her dog Bailey by her side.

Photo by Amber Romero —
Manager Bonnie Smith, with her dog Bailey by her side.

By Amber Romero

Bonnie Smith, December’s Manager of the Month, said her family members influenced her to become a teacher. Below, she explains the difference her dog, Bailey, makes in the classroom and what she does when she is not working with middle school scholars. 

Did you expect to be manager of the month and how did you feel?

No, I didn’t expect it. That’s very nice!

Why do you think scholars voted for you?

I think they are actually voting for Bailey (our class dog).

On that note, why does Bailey come to school with you?

There are studies that show that dogs improve the environment and make people happy. There’s two studies that I’ve read about. One of them shows that when you have dogs in the workplace it helps stress levels go down and it helps test scores go up .One study was in a work place; people brought their dogs into a workplace and productivity went up and stress levels went down. They tested their different vitals. They also have a study in a school where they have kids doing oral reports. The classrooms that had dogs in them did vital testing, and their stress levels went way down and their grades, test scores, and oral presentation was a higher grade.

At what point in your life did you decide to become a teacher? How did it happen?

I decided to be a teacher because my mom and my grandmother were both teachers and I worked as a teacher aide through college and liked being in the classrooms.

How did you get started in teaching?

My friend’s mom was the principal at Lincoln Middle School and they had a teacher fall and break her hip. She knew that I had just graduated from college and called me saying, “You start teaching 6th grade tomorrow!”

What do you teach and why did you want to teach that subject?

This year I teach Computers and Social Studies. They are fun to teach and better than math, despite what Mr. Hostetler  says. 

What kind of student were you in high school?  

I mostly got A’s, B’s and C’s. I could have done better but I talked too much to my friends.

Who were the teachers or people who influenced you in your life?

My mom influenced me the most. She was strict but fun and always stayed calm, unless you really made her mad and then watch out!

What is the hardest part about teaching middle school?

There’s a little, tiny bit of drama every once in awhile.

What do you like most about teaching?

Getting to know the kids and watch them learn how to be successful as they grow up.

What do you dislike the most about teaching?

The pay could be better.

What makes ASK scholars different than other students?

They are very accepting of each other’s differences and want to do well.

What makes ASK different than other schools?

ASK is different because they keep the class sizes around twenty-five and really care about doing what’s best for scholars.

Which managers made you feel comfortable when you were new last year?

All of them; this staff rocks.

What are your hobbies?

I love photography and to be in the mountains hiking, skiing and/or camping. I love to watch professional soccer and baseball, too.

Tell us what you do when you are not teaching? 

I am married and have two kids (A 16-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl). When I’m not teaching, I am watching my kids play their sports or spending time with our friends.

What has been the most profound experience you have had teaching this year?

Being allowed to bring my golden retriever, Bailey, to school on a regular basis. It has been amazing to see how she makes a difference with scholars.

What piece of advice would you give to high school scholars based on your life experience?

My advice is that the choices you are making today are the path to your future. You have control over making good choices and you are the only one who will be standing in your shoes throughout your life, so think about your daily choices and make no excuses for yourself.

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