So, Friday, second grade took a field trip to the “local” natural history museum. I say “local” because my school is in the middle of nowhere and it takes an hour to get to the natural history museum. Which isn’t bad, but when you’ve got over about 80 people squeezed onto one bus, three to a seat, it feels like it’s forever.
I’m going to start out by saying that the kids were awesome. They were well behaved, attentive, well mannered, and put up with everything that happened beautifully. Honestly, except for one thing, they probably weren’t aware of the snags the field trip hit, which is good. But they handled everything well.
So, the field trip was to the natural history museum. There were three stations: the “classroom”, where they learned about monarch butterflies; the museum, where they did a scavenger hunt; and the sanctuary, where they got to see butterflies in the wild. What was supposed to happen was one class took a station and rotated through, but one of the docents was unavailable, so my class was split and we did the museum/classroom first, had lunch, then all went to the sanctuary after. This turned out to be a good thing, because one of the other teachers lost their voice, so I went with her class so I could be her voice.
The first snag was the trip to the museum. We got lost. The bus driver missed both possible exits and ended up taking us to the next town. Finally, another teacher went up front and, using her phone, guided him in the right way. Unfortunately, it was the back way, which is a long, winding, twisting, turning road through tall trees. It’s absolutely beautiful, but not much fun to do when you are on a bus of loud children. Especially when the bus driver decides to go way to fast through the curves and twists. It was just not fun. But, we got there in one pieces, sadly right on time so we were unable to give the kids their snacks (but that turned out to be a good thing, actually).
The museum tour and classroom lesson were very good. The kids were really into it and one of my kids got turned into a butterfly. He was a natural showman about it, too, just very funny.
Then, it was time for lunch. About ten or kids had brought their lunch, so I took them back to the bus to get it. When I got back, it was to a livid teacher. The cafeteria did not pack enough lunches for everyone and we were 13 short. The really bad thing is none of us knew that kids were going to be bringing their lunch, so when we entered our count, it was for the full 75 students in the class. So, we were a lot short on lunches. Luckily, some of the parents had driven themselves, so they took a count of students without lunches and went to the local Safeway to buy food for them. In the meantime, we handed out granola bars to the kids without and fumed.
Last, we went to the sanctuary. First, we got lost again, but eventually we found our way. It’s a beautiful bit of forest where butterflies come to winter. Most of them had flown off already because it’s been so unseasonably warm, but there were still a good few. I missed most of it because I ended up on port-a-potty duty, watching the kids who had to go to the bathroom and giving hand sanitizer when they came out. It was lots of fun. But, that’s what teachers do.
Then, we went back out to get on the bus. Which was not there. We waited for about five minutes before another teacher decided to walk down the road to see if he was waiting anywhere. He was, but the fact that no one had made any arrangements for meeting him was just… ugh. So, we made it back onto the bus. This time, sadly, I was sitting next to the aisle seat so half my butt was hanging off the seat and my back got tweaked. I’m okay, but was so uncomfortable. But, we made it back to school without anymore disaster.
I have never been on such a poorly executed field trip before. And it wasn’t our fault. The teacher who set up the lunch orders checked several times that they would make enough lunches. And why did the bus driver get lost? Just… dude.
So, that’s over. We survived, the kids had a good experience (mostly) and it’s one more hurdle toward the end of the year. So. What’s the worst field trip experience you’ve ever had?