Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Field Trip High Anxiety!

When I was a much younger teacher and sponsor of various student organizations, I would take my middle school students on field trips and even overnight trips to Tucson and Phoenix. Once, I even coordinated a trip with 25 high school students and 60 middle school students where we were gone for two days! I always had great support from teacher friends that I could persuade (strong-arm) into going with us. Yes, it involved a lot of work, but they were always a lot of fun, nothing bad ever happened, and I still have fond memories of those adventures. So, when I decided to take my 2nd through 5th graders to Tucson to see the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, it seemed like a really great idea.

Did you read the part about how I planned all those field trips when I was much younger?

Reality set in several weeks ago after I submitted the paperwork for not just one field trip, but four. Yes, four. How could I take the little kids on a field trip and not do something wonderful for my middle schoolers??? Let’s be fair. Or should I say, I lost touch of my sanity several weeks ago!!

Earth to Jana:

 There is 50 second through fifth grade students and about 100 middle schoolers in my program. They come from eight different schools. That is a lot of paperwork to collect and track down!
 I started waking up around two o’clock thinking about all the things I needed to do for each field trip.
 I couldn’t go to sleep until really late because I began worrying about forgetting vital things for the trips. (barf bags, baby wipes for the potential barf, permission slips, etc…)
 I started having stomach pains thinking about all the things that could go wrong taking 50 seven-to-eleven year olds out of town.
 I actually wrote the date of one of my field trips as the date for my future daughter-in-law’s wedding shower!
 I dreamed about the lists for the field trips.
 I started worry about things that could go wrong. (stomach flu, raging diarrhea, projectile vomiting, bears in the forest, alien abduction, zombies, etc…)
 I had a very scary nightmare that wasn’t related to a field trip, but it scared me all the same!
 I am 55 going on 56 and maybe I am a tad too old to do this kind of thing!

On the first field trip, I took seventh graders to the Cochise College Aviation Department to fly simulators and to experiment with the “unmanned aircraft”. They don’t like to use the word “drone”. Everything went well. It was local and the college fed the kids lunch. Oh, the kids really liked the simulators and all, but they were ecstatic about the cafeteria!
Okay, they were a little hyper when we went back to school.

On the second field trip, I took eighth graders to the Chiricahua Mountains to tour the Southwest Research Center. It was great! The kids were fantastic! I left the wienies for the hotdogs at home and had to spend $75 of my own money buying them a hamburger at a cafĂ© or else they would have eaten a “macaroni salad dog” for lunch.

On third field trip, I took my sixth graders to the high school to the Agriculture Department for hands-on activities. Yes, they could have lost fingers, eyes, and set themselves on fire, especially with the welding torches, but the only injury was a splinter from a picnic table. I didn’t forget the food and we ate the forgotten wienies from the eighth grade field trip! No loss!

Today was the “BIG EVENT”!
(Cue the tympani!) THE SYMPHONY!!!! (Fanfare!)

Six amazing chaperones who volunteered to help. The lunches were all packed, the kids were all waiting, the bus was late, but not too late. No one was left behind during the restroom break. I think most of the kids washed their hands. I remembered to dispense one student’s medication ON TIME. We were on time. The concert was totally awesome and that is not just my opinion. We ALL made it home alive! No vomiting, poop explosion, bears, aliens, or zombies, unless you count the bags I have under my eyes from sleep deprivation!

Four out of four field trips in two weeks and except for forgotten wienies, everything turned out well.

Not bad for an old retired teacher!!!

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