Wednesday, September 26, 2012

field trips.

Field Trips.  Truth be told, I cannot decide whether or not I love them or I hate them.  Story time.

The first field trip I ever took a class on was a trip to the pumpkin farm with my kindergarten class.  This was, simply put, the field trip from h. e. double hockey sticks.  Fact: It was my first field trip as a teacher ever.  Fact: It was a whole school field trip.

I had everything ready.  I thought.  I had just enough chaperones, and had split the class up into groups with a parent in charge of each group.  I had lists to give the parents.  I had name tags.  I had printed directions to the farm for the parent drivers.  I had calculated what our bill would come out to.  I had all the money.  We were scheduled to leave after lunch, so I didn't have to worry about taking lunch bags.  I had a fantastic mentor teacher going with me and would be able to help me if anything went wrong.

It was mid-October, I believe.  I had been with my class for a little over a month, and did not know many of the parents.  Getting enough chaperones had been a struggle.  One of my parents had to cancel last minute because her daughter was sick.  I had twins in my class and their parents worked constantly, so they were unable to come and opted to send the twins' grandfather instead.  I had never, ever met this man in my entire life.  Chaperones were supposed to arrive, check in in the office and meet the teachers outside the cafeteria to get their lists, directions and review what our schedule was.

I arrive to meet the chaperones.  Everyone is there, except the twins' grandfather.  We wait for him.  And wait for him.  I have to pick up the class from lunch and get on our way.  I tell the parents that I will return with the kiddos, and hopefully, our missing chaperone will arrive while I'm gone.  I get my class, and three of my kids are missing.  The lunch monitor says one went to the restroom, and the other two, the twins, went with their grandfather already.  I am already freaking out a little bit.  There are 11 kids in my class.  THREE are missing--more than 25%.  We assume they are somewhere in the building.  I take the rest of my class to the chaperones, tell my mentor teacher that I am going to find the missing children and chaperone, and that I will drive myself to the pumpkin farm once I figure things out.  We should have left twenty minutes ago.

I look all over the school for them.  The secretary determines that the grandfather's car is not in the parking lot--he must have left for the field trip already with the twins.  We try calling him.  We think he's driving the car, so he does not answer his cell phone.  I leave three voicemails for him to call me as soon as possible.  I continue to look ALL OVER THE SCHOOL for the other little girl.  She was a "hider"--she would get upset about something and hide anywhere.  She would hide inside lockers (not necessarily her own) or climb on top of the toilet in a stall so you couldn't see her feet.  I looked everywhere.

Finally, the secretary tells me to go.  She will continue searching and if she finds the little girl, she will let me know.

I drive there and thankfully, do not get lost.  When I pull in the parking lot, somehow the rest of the school is still unloading (I have no idea how fast I had to have driven...  I was searching for at least 15-20 minutes).  I see the twins.  I see the missing little girl.  I see a man I guess must be the twins' grandfather.  I get out, call the secretary and then go to talk to my mentor teacher.  She has the twins' older sister in her class, so she tells me she will talk to the grandfather about not letting anyone know that he was taking the children.

I pay for myself twice for the field trip.  Kids fall in the mud.  I bought apple butter.

I eventually get to talk to the grandfather myself--I introduce myself as Mrs. B, the kindergarten teacher.  We have a five minute conversation about the twins.  And later, I hear him ask the twins who their teacher is.

The next field trip, the twins did not go.  The missing little girl was always in my group of students--which was only her.

And why am I thinking about this today?  We went on our first first grade field trip today to a nature reserve.  And it was the EASIEST, LEAST STRESSFUL field trip ever.

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