Thursday, April 29, 2010

Letting them out of the cage...

Today was our class field trip. While this made sound like a fabulous idea; letting children go out of school for a day to learn about different topics and have fun with each other, I assure you that planning or surviving the field trip is no fun if you are the teacher.

When I taught Kindergarten (goodness, that sounds like I was in a Vietnamese prison camp!), I LOATHED field trips. There were several reasons for this, but I will be succinct.

First, the kids always assumed that the rules only applied only to the four walls that made our classroom and school. WRONG. They also assumed that if their mom, dad, grandmother, Jesus Christ was in their midst, the rules would not apply. WRONG.

Then, there was the whole logistics of the field trip. Would they be contained, say, in a children's theatre, glued to their sit for an hour or so, or would we be at Metro Zoo (hell on Earth, I assure you) running after children who were also wearing our school colors.

Worst of all are the bus rides to and from the field trip. When I was pregnant with Matthew, I sat in the back of a school bus early on in my second trimester. In a flash of what would come during labor, I thought I was going to die. The bus driver had obviously bought their license at Kmart, was trying to outrun every other car on the road, had no fear of taking sharp turns on curved, elevated highways in a school bus, and surely had never had the shock absorbers in the back of the twenty five year old bus replaced...How Matthew stayed in my uterus and did not drop out in a pothole hit is definitely an act of God.

But truly, while this may seem bad, it is not the worst part of field trips. The worst is parents acting badly. I am sure you have witnessed this at school functions. The mother who will not sit down while taking pictures of precious Susie, even after the preschool director is ready to tackle her in the Church aisle. Or the parent that brings chocolate covered peanuts for a treat, when the teacher has begged to keep all peanut products out of the thirty mile radius of her classroom because of Johnny's anaphylaxis reaction and the location of that handy Epi-pen. Parents behaving badly on field trips is bad news. It is a power struggle and one that parents in my class have never won.

But you understand why the kids act like they do. You gain perspective, but not in a fun way.

That being said, today's field trip went very smooth. Except that it might have been nice to have an extra bus so that my class would not have been split up. The movie, Disney's Oceans, was phenomenal. However, it would have been nice to have skipped the running commentary of the two nine years olds from another class had sitting behind me.

Lunch was at a local park. The kids brought towels and their lunches and it was great to see them interact with one another, free of the restrictions of the classroom and school. The parent that went with us was super. Secret strategy: I was lucky enough to pull the name of a parent who is a teacher! SCORE!

As I watched my kids play and talk, I was surprised at how fast the school year seems to have gone by. In a few weeks, I will be dismissing these children for the last time. They are confident, happy, intelligent children. I will miss them.


After school, Matt and Andrew had Chess practice. They are very into Chess and compete for the school (I know, my kids are weird, but then again, so are their parents). I had a friend's daughters with me. I am currently the teacher for the younger one, I had the older one last year. We went to pick up Joshua at school and he looked at me, puzzled, as I walked up to the front entrance and he stood in the playground.

Usually, when I go to pick up Joshua, he comes running with arms flung open, ready to give me a hug and a kiss. Today, he ran under a piece of playground equipment and would not get out. He kept muttering, " I want my brothers, I want my brothers" as he glanced at the girls.

I was confused. I thought he would get a kick of being fawned over by the girls and get a chance to perfect his ladies' man routine.

And then, it hit me.

In his young little mind, he must have thought that Matt and Andrew's day must have been REALLY bad.

Because they had turned into girls.

I tried so hard to not laugh all the way back to the school to pick the boys up. I still had the girls with me. They were cooing and giggling at how cute he was.

But he did not truly smile until he saw his two older brothers, got to hug them, and he saw that there had been no evil, mistaken transformation.

And then, the ladies' man was in full swing!


  1. You have to print this story out and put it in his baby book! How cute!

    And you are right--field trips are the worst! I always hated them!

  2. ooooooh no. I'm getting transferred to an elementary school (as the media specialist) next year from the high school level. Of ALL the things I've been panicking about, FIELD TRIPS hadn't crossed my mind yet. OH NOOOOOO! *breathe*.

    and the part about your son....too funny!

  3. I used to LOVE field trips! Still do!

  4. So funny you wrote this yesterday when Hannah actually had a Pre-K field trip! The teachers asked for some volunteers to join and I had to think quick of an excuse because there was No Way in Hell I was going on that trip! Needless to say, the teachers looked WIPED last night!

    I love your little story with your son... that is priceless!

  5. I love the story about Joshua! Kids' minds work in such amazing ways, don't they?

    Oh, and, as a former teacher, I know just what you mean about field trips. You've got me thinking about the time I led a trip to Yankee Stadium with my 28 3rd graders and their assorted moms, dads, siblings, cousins, grandparents and we all got split up on the subway. Fun! :)


Tell me what you think...