A kindergarten teacher who has gone viral on TikTok before is doing it again, with a pair of videos released over the weekend in which he takes his students to a virtual field trip to the zoo.
Billing himself as Mr. Talcott on the platform, the teacher documented his trip to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, showing students a group of penguins in a video garnering more than 800,000 views in its first two days up.
Mr. Talcott gets one of his students to guess where penguins come from, and the initial answer—”the Arctic!”—gets a zookeeper in the background to gently nudge them with, “You’re not too far off with the Arctic!” She informs the students that they hail from the coastline of Chile and Peru.
“Look at that, friends,” Mr. Talcott says. “You learn something every day.”
In the other video, put up Sunday and gathering nearly 200,000 views that first day, Mr. Talcott encourages his students, “Let’s be great readers” in front of a sign detailing the tapir, shows them rhinos and orangutans, and encouraging them to come on virtual field trips with him.
While it might be frustrating to see such a great field trip for kids have to be mediated through screens more than a year into the pandemic, it’s also heartwarming to see a teacher working to make the zoo experience engaging and come to life through his sheer enthusiasm.
Or, at least, that’s likely what a Twitter user had in mind in sharing the video, saying, “Shoutout to this teacher that took his Kindergarten class on a virtual field trip to the zoo” and adding, “Teachers are SO underpaid.”
A few respondents went full “well, actually” with observations like, “If the zoo is open, why are kids not in school?” and “Pre-Covid-19, studies showed that many teachers were being paid a fair salary.”
There was also a conversation wondering what kind of Wi-Fi plan enabled him to do the tour, and whether or not he was paying for the data used to make the video out of his own pocket.
But some on Twitter weren’t quite so monocle emoji, with one tweeter, @_RealShante, noting, “Videos like this make me realize how children are losing out on some pivotal moments in their childhood and this teacher trying to make the best of what’s available is why teachers are so important.”
Mr. Talcott might surpass his most viral TikTok numbers with the zoo trip, but he seems to have a talent for pulling on heartstrings via the platform. In December, he shared his boyfriend’s marriage proposal in a video that racked up over a million views (for the first of a two-parter).
It’s still to be determined what his fans will find better—true love or penguins. (Though from the numbers, it looks like his fans find both to be pretty fantastic.)
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