Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Notes on a Field Trip

Since I'm coming up briefly for air, I thought I'd post some notes on the field trip I went on with H last Friday. Her 3rd grade class has been studying the Civil War from a variety of angles - economics, science, math, and history - to learn about issues directly related to the war: slavery and the production of cotton specifically. Friday's field trip was to a local cotton mill, where we got to see an operating cotton gin, observe the processing/packaging of the cotton, and explore the cotton fields. Getting to said cotton mill included a bus ride with 40+ third graders in 90+ degree heat, all windows down. My observations (p.s. if anyone knows how to do bullets on here, let me know):

- Buses still suck. I'd forgotten how quickly the dirt and wind blowing through windows covers your body with the smell of "outside funk," which only adds to the "kid funk" oozing through the inside of the bus.

- By third grade, it is clear that the most important thing about field trips - other than missing class - is who you sit next to on the bus. This is critical, and if you wait too long in making a decision, you could end up sitting all by yourself, or worse: begging the girl two seats up to leave her current friend to come sit next to you.

- Nobody likes a tattletale. Not in third grade...not least not when it comes to the small stuff (like sticking three fingers out the window).

- Upon having children in school, one is no longer an individual person with a name. One is, from this point on, simply known as H's Mom. As in, "H's Mom, can you tell Mikey to stop putting his fingers out the window?!"

- Putting ear plugs in the grimy, wax-laden ears of other people's children is really gross.

- A 25-minute bus ride with 40+ third graders in 90+ degree heat, followed by 2 hours at a cotton mill and field and no water breaks until the trip is over can lead to The Most Severe Migraine Ever Known to Man.

- Honestly? The parent who comes along to document, photograph, and video every moment of their child's experience on the field trip - fanny packs, camera equipment, and posing instructions included - not only looks like a dork, but also misses the whole point of the experience.

- We really should get to take field trips as adults? They are entirely different than trips taken on weekends or vacations, per se. They are a special treat for an entire group, taken at a time when said group is supposed to be going about their normal routine. They are planned by someone else, so all one has to do is 1)look forward to the trip and 2) bring a sack lunch. Few things in life provide such pleasure with such little effort.

- Teachers who take such trips under said conditions are freakin awesome, and so are the people who help make them possible!

- Simply being there with your child can make their entire day fantastic! H didn't budge from my side the entire time. She clung to me, proudly, and I could see that having me there made her feel so special. Seeing that made everything else totally worth it!

1 comment:

Marjorie said...

Oh, I love that image of your daughter by your side, so happy that you were there.

From that field trip experience to the story of The Note and The
Boy--I'm seeing how my world is going to flip-flop from this life with toddlers I have going on now.

Not to mention how vastly different everything seems from a mother's perspective. I think I would have had a panic attack if I had found The Note--but would have just giggled had I seen it as a third-grader--if I had known what it meant. I guess the positive side of all of that Note stuff is that your daughter knows you'll be right there to guide her through some very tricky boy/sexuality-related stuff as she grows up, whether it embarrasses her or not.