I went on a school trip with my daughter today. (And by today I mean last spring – wrote this and it got lost and just found again – oops!) That has got to be one of the most enlightening experiences as a parent. First, and I don’t say this enough, how amazing are teachers? The amount of patience they have is unbelievable.
But how things have changed… A few of the kids on this particular trip were quite disrespectful and it didn’t seem like the consequences matched their level of insolence… I have to say I have an immense level of respect for the two young ladies who ran the groups today. We were at MacSkimming, an outdoor education centre on the outskirts of Ottawa, experiencing what it would have been like to be coureurs des bois in the early 1800’s.
The accompanying parents, including me, were free agents and the children were employees of the North West Trading company and traveled in small groups. As free agents, the parents and teachers were allowed to intercept the kids and steal their furs and trading currency. This involved a lot of running in the woods and was actually quite fun. I have to say, it is very nice to listen to your child convince the boys in the class that they should, in fact, run away from their mom because: “she is really fast and she runs half-marathons” :)
It is interesting observing a class of seventh graders and figuring out who the trouble makers are (it takes about 2 minutes after entering any classrooms) and then trying to manage all the children. As a visiting adult and not a regular fixture, it is very hard to establish a level of respect very quickly. I do have to say, having purple hair does make you seem like the coolest adult there and the kids do somehow respect you a bit more for it, I did use that to my advantage! My favourite part is realizing you were very wrong about a particular child or witnessing the children helping each other out and/or supporting each other.
Another one of the activities involved the children re-writing the lyrics to a popular song (so they could all follow the tune) so that it told the tale of the fur traders. Some of the songs chosen: “I’m Sexy & I Know It” and “I Like Big Butts”. I wish I had a clear statement on how that made me feel, but I guess the way to put it is “conflicted”.
These kids are good kids, and funny too. The songs they came up with were entertaining and actually did tell the story of what it would have been like to canoe and hunt and trade your wares. Also, when asked what fashion trends were currently popular at their school, one little boy said: “mismatched socks” while another quickly followed up with “ridiculously tight pants”. This made the adults laugh and the educator wonder aloud how the pants could be so tight and yet still be falling down. How *IS* that possible??
I always seem to see the same parents at these outings, I think it really is a great opportunity to observe your child in their “natural environment” and at the very least get a glimpse of what they go through in their class setting.
What is the favourite class trip you have done with your kids?