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Otis the Guinea Pig is a superstar teacher's assistant at Tampa's Graham Elementary School

Students rewarded with Otis time for good grades and behavior
child holding Otis the Guinea Pig
Posted at 6:13 AM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 08:24:42-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Otis the Guinea Pig is a fuzzy, small fella making a big impact at Graham Elementary School in Tampa.

"Oh, he's our VIP," said reading teacher (and Otis handler) Meghan Flaherty. "Very Important Pig!"

Flaherty and Courtney Hayman, both passionate pivotal leaders in the school's reading program, adopted Otis from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, which hosted a free-pocket-pet program for teachers.

In his short time as a teacher's assistant, Otis has already established himself as both an incentive and a reward. Good behavior, good grades, and good attendance all merit a meet-and-greet with Otis.

Otis is also a conduit to confidence and communication in the classroom.

"He's breaking down barriers for them," said Hayman, who notes that Otis has a superheroic ability to pull shy kids out of their shells.

Teachers also use Otis to establish calm and quiet. After all, Otis doesn't love loud noises — but he really likes polite boys and girls who listen attentively and stay in their seats.

Future plans for Otis include his very own mailbox, where kids can learn to write him letters.

To help with Otis's Amazon Wishlist (even small furry teacher's assistants need school supplies), click here.