Teacher’s Corner: A Trip with Donkeys

The federal government decided to throw some money at schools “to make up for lost learning because of Covid”. While the higher classes who need to write their finals can have some free remedial lessons, we decided that the younger kids didn’t need more maths, but more social skills and hired a guy to do “Erlebnispädagogik”, outdoor education with us. Last week it was time for year 5, which is usually not my year, but because our school worker was sick, I got to cover for her and provide an additional adult, which was good, because in the end I was the one to bring the kids back to school.

The program for the day was a trip with donkeys and a dog.

Picture of a black and white border collie puppy, 4 months old.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Meet Luna, the hyperactive border collie pup. Of course all the kids wanted to be the one to walk Luna, and they all learned that walking a pup is more work than they thought.

Head of a grey donkey with a white snout

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Meet Bruno, the more stubborn of the two donkeys. His friend Fridolin is more docile, but also the boss. these two have the patience of a stone. The gladly took all the kisses and snuggles they could get.

The class was split up in 4 groups with rotating tasks: one for each donkey, leading them and making sure they’re not eating anything their boss didn’t declare safe, because people are assholes who throw away anything and some years back a donkey almost died after he ate something he shouldn’t have, one group walking the puppy, and one group walking in front with a map. Meet “my” happy group of rascals with Fridolin:

Six kids holding the leads of a grey donkey. Their faces are covered with stickers that say "We don't post pics of kids here"

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Of course I obscured the faces, it goes without saying that you should never post a kid’s face without permission. Us adults told them that we’d only intervene if they did something harmful for the animals. Apart from that, they were responsible. When it was my group’s turn to lead the way, they mixed up paths and used one that wasn’t actually a path but the destruction left after heavy machinery collected wood. Incidences like that are actually a good thing. The kids have to take responsibility, come up with their own solution, work together. When the ground became difficult to walk because of all the branches left by the machines, they decided quickly to work together and clear it for the donkeys.

We made it back in time and it was such a great experience. Actually we’d need this way more often. At least once a month. Even better would be a school dog or something like that. Or maybe a school donkey? The kids handle the animals with all the care and respect they never show for each other. One boy in particular, who already has a reputation for being difficult, was so totally taken in by the donkeys that he was the most peaceful and sweet kid all day.

a kid hugging the donkey and resting its face (obscured) on the back of the donkey

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Next week I get three days of donkey fun. Sometimes I love my job more than usually.


  1. says

    I hadn’t given much thought to donkeys in a long-ass time (lol), but recently they’ve caught my attention more. I never realized they’re basically northern zebras, fewer stripes because they don’t have the same density of biting flies as the southern variety. I wonder if xtians sometimes think of the intersecting lines on their back as being a big ol’ cross. There’s a demon in the Lesser Key of Solomon samed Gamigin that looks like a donkey.
    On an unrelated note, that’s interesting to not post kid faces. A lot of people would do that without a thought it’s normal enough, but should it be? Recently my boyfriend was percolating a scifi setting where for privacy rights all people’s faces are autocensored by all cameras except certain licensed security cameras, with a customizable avatar. Kids would usually have a teddy bear head or the like, some people would use it for a fursona.

  2. says

    Well, first of all, these are not my kids. I would actually need permission from their parents to post them. In school, all parents have to sign whether they allow school to post pics of their kids on the website or not, but this is clearly not the official school website. We do have a kid in one class where the parents are, for good reason, not allowed to know where the kid is. Posting an identifiable pic of the kid would give them a clue.
    If these were my kids, I wouldn’t post their pics either, because it’s understood between us that they have a right to privacy. they’re not allowed to post pics of themselves on the web either.

    Donkeys are just the best. They’re often called stubborn, but donkeys are just careful. They come from hilly/mountain terrain. A horse is an animal of the plains. Its survival strategy is to run first, think later. If you do that in hilly areas, you break your legs and die.

  3. lumipuna says

    Asses are nice to work with, as long as you don’t have to instruct them or take instructions from them.

  4. Jazzlet says

    Great American Satan
    Not only do christians think the intersecting lines are a cross, christian mythothogy has it that it was put there after an ass carried Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

  5. kestrel says

    That is so wonderful… those children will remember this for the rest of their lives! As a child I would have been absolutely thrilled with such an expedition.

    Also, I think “hyperactive Border Collie” is redundant. I have never met one that was NOT hyperactive.

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