Teacher Fired For Not Meowing At Boy Who Identifies As Cat


A Cat in Class

When she heard the first meow, she brushed it off as her students being mischievous. The second one came, and she purposefully ignored it.

But she knew something was off at the third. She quickly set her roll call sheet aside and hurried to the back of the class. She didn’t expect what she found.

Teaching Spanish

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Dani Rauch was a Spanish teacher living in California. She’d been teaching for the last two years, helping kids all over San Fransisco learn Spanish.

A native of California, Dani loved the melding of cultures and perspectives in the state. But none of it would’ve prepared her for what she experienced that day.

Returning to Class

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Dani had recently applied to grad school for a master’s in education. She had less time to teach than she wanted to. To pay her bills, Dani took on substitute teaching.

She’d found an opening as a substitute Spanish teacher in her city. Excited to start her new job, Dani left home early that morning. She had no clue how much the day would affect her teaching career.

Eager Minds

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Dani walked into class after all the kids settled as part of her first-day routine. Her sight swept from one corner of the classroom to the other.

A smile bloomed on her face. There was nothing she loved more than eager minds ready to learn. She took out her attendance sheet and called the first name on the list. And then it happened.

It Begins

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The sound made the class giggle, and Dani glanced up from her sheet. She smiled, ignoring the meow and reading the next name.

Another meow split the air, followed by a third one. That’s it! Dani set the attendance sheet aside and looked around. “Excuse me? Who’s doing that?” She wasn’t prepared for the answer she got.


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“Meow,” came the answer. Irritation flared within Dani. She breathed out steadily, knowing how playful high school could sometimes be.

But a girl at the front of the class awkwardly raised her hand. When Dani nodded at her, she said, “You have to meow back at him. He identifies as a cat.” Dani’s jaw slackened.

A New Experience


“I have to do what?” Dani asked, her smile holding fast. “Meow back at him,” repeated the girl. “Meow,” the sound went again.

This time, Dani pinpointed its source. She walked to the back of the classroom, where a boy sat with his head held low. “Meow?” he asked, and Dani did the unexpected.

She Does Not Meow Back


“Is there a litter box somewhere in here?” Dani asked, and the class burst out laughing. The boy shot to his feet with a glare. He ran his gaze up and down Dani and hissed.

He meowed one last time before stomping out of the classroom. Dani chuckled, seeing it all as good harmless fun on her first day. But it didn’t stop there.

Taking Matters Into Her Hands

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As the boy walked toward the door, Dani made a woof sound. The laughter in the class doubled. Dani laughed along, hoping it was over.

She finished her roll call and set to teaching the class. The boy returned after some minutes, and Dani smiled at him. Although his lips curled back at her, Dani knew something was amiss.

A Day Well Spent

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The class ended well, as Dani expected. She collected her teaching materials and hurried to the office. She was ready to go to her next class. 

Danny switched out her materials for the next class and went to teach it. This one, in particular, was made up of students in advanced placement with regard to Spanish. It’s where Dani’s skill as a teacher really shone.

The Teaching And Learning Process

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Dani loved every level of the teaching and learning process. Whether she was teaching a regular class or spending time engaging in an AP class, she always felt fulfilled and at home.

But as she walked to the advanced placement class, she couldn’t help but think about the meowing kid from the previous lesson. Although she’d disregarded the matter as pure mischief earlier, she couldn’t help but think there was more to it than that.

You Get What You Deserve

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But Dani chose not to focus on the matter. The student had gone out of his way to try and embarrass her, getting himself embarrassed instead.

The role of a teacher was an amalgamation of different aspects. Dani was not only a guide and someone to impart knowledge but also a disciplinarian when necessary. But did that exempt her from how she chose to handle the matter?

Guilt And Remorse

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Dani walked past the Spanish class she’d taught earlier, choosing not to look through the window at the students within it.

Although she didn’t want to acknowledge it, she knew she’d not done right as a teacher. Yes, she was a disciplinarian, but she was also supposed to be a friend, guardian, and parent. She had to fix this issue before it was too late.

Young Minds

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Kids in their teenage years are usually very impressionable. They take almost everything to heart, be it good or bad.

Dani knew this and wondered how her treatment of the boy would affect the rest of his day. As she continued walking, her mind began unraveling the consequences of her actions. What was happening to the boy now that she’d ridiculed him in front of his peers?

Heaven Or Hell

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High school is usually one of the most challenging times in a kid’s life. As a teacher, one is meant to not only teach but help make this period smoother and at least bearable for these children.

The four years of high school can amount to some of the best or worst memories in a person’s life. Dani didn’t want the kid from class to look back at this day as a traumatic moment in his life. But what could she do now that the damage was already done?

It’s Quiet


Dani walked to her advanced placement class in utter silence. What had begun as simple fun had devolved into overthinking on her part.

She started thinking about the boy in detail, wondering why he chose to identify the way he did at school. Little did she know that the school administration was already privy to her actions.

She Wants To Fix It


As Dani walked to her AP class, teaching materials in hand and many thoughts drilling her mind, she hoped the other students wouldn’t ridicule the boy.

She hoped to go back after her AP class to have a chat with him and the rest of his classroom. But she wouldn’t get a chance to do that today.

Oh No


Dani reached her AP class, pushed the door open, and stepped in. But she wasn’t even in for a second when her sight landed on a familiar face. The boy!

Her lips parted, and her foot dared to take a step back. But Dani was a teacher, a figure of authority. She would take everything in stride. She did the unexpected.

Stay In Control


Dani’s lips curled, and the surprised look on her face melted into a warm smile that coaxed a smile from the dozen kids that sat before her, the boy included.

He gave her a slight wave as she walked in and reached for her roll call sheet. Would they have a repeat of what happened in the first class?

Advanced Placement


Dani began reading the names on her list, but the boy didn’t interrupt her with his meowing this time. Dani continued reading the names, with each student introducing themselves as she went down the list.

She was pleasantly surprised that the boy was in advanced placement and in Spanish class, no less. But she didn’t know what would happen if he meowed again.

He Does It Again


Dani read the boy’s name, and he responded with a rising intonation meow, indicating it was a question. His response made Dani’s lips curve without her knowledge, and unlike what she had done in the last class, she meowed back.

The boy cocked his head to the side, and the class laughed. Dani joined in, seeing another side of this situation now that she was choosing to approach it from a different angle. But she would be too late.

A Great Experience!


The advanced placement class went spectacularly, way better than Dani thought it would. She’d expected it to be tame and quiet, given it handles the more complex linguistic side of the Spanish language.

But the boy’s presence and interaction with Dani brought a fiery energy that she had never experienced in her years of teaching.

Can We Talk?


As the class ended, Dani asked the boy to remain behind. She wanted to know why he was identifying as a cat.

Although she initially found the choice odd, she was intrigued by it. From her time in grad school, she’d learned that each student was different. Accepting and celebrating this diversity was the key to fully imparting knowledge.

Live A Little


The boy’s answer was simple. He thought it was fun, a side of him that was unafraid and ready to take risks. “If we don’t take risks in life, then are we truly living?” he asked Dani in flawless Spanish.

Dani nodded in understanding. Nothing good ever came without taking risks. A simple yet compelling lesson taught by a student to a teacher. If only she knew what the boy had already done.

A Good Discussion


Dani walked to the office after her brief discussion with the boy. On her way, she grinned. She’d enjoyed her interaction with the student and found his perspective on life unique. Wasn’t this what teaching and learning were?

But her thoughts were interrupted by the school secretary. “Miss Rauch,” the secretary called. “The principal would like to see you in his office. Thank you.”

The Principal Calls


Dani nodded at the lady and quickly changed her trajectory. She’d meant to take her teaching materials to the office before seeing the principal, so this worked fine for her.

She knocked on the door, expecting a warm greeting. She received none. “Sit,” the principal almost commanded. Dani couldn’t believe what the principal said next.

He’s Serious


“We no longer need your services,” the principal said. “If you can’t identify with all the children in the classroom, then we can’t continue working together.”

Dani used everything in her to keep her lips from curving. She realized the principal was serious about the matter. She would match the principal’s energy with her answer.

I Understand


“I didn’t know cats were considered people,” Dani said. “I thought they were pets.” Was that a twitch on the principal’s jaw?

“I am sorry,” Dani said. “I understand what these kids go through every day. It is not easy for them.” As part of Dani’s grad school education, she learned ways to make education more comfortable for students. Could she apply anything she’d learned here?

She Speaks Her Mind


“I appreciate that the student identifies as a cat,” Dani said. “It makes him unique. Maybe we could find ways to make him more comfortable in class.”

When the principal took an interest, she continued, “We could focus on his likes, maybe encourage sincere communication. There is a lot that these kids have bottled up. We can help them.” The principal leaned forward. What he said shocked Dani.

A New Development


“You seem to know a lot about this,” the principal said, and Dani nodded. “If you are up for it,” he continued, “you can incorporate what you’re talking about into our teaching programs.”

Dani gave another nod. She’d wanted a chance to apply what she was learning in a real-life educational setting. “When can I start?” she asked the principal.

Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.