Thursday, June 4, 2015

Field Trips

School field trips are probably the best part of each school year for kids.  In my district, we get one field trip paid for a year.  We also, from time-to-time, find additional field trips that are free and in walking distance.  There have been four of those this year - 3 plays at the local high school and nearby community theater and a rock hunt to a local park.  They were all great fun, but not quite as exciting as the "boarding a school bus and going somewhere far away"field trip.  That one was today.
"Boarding the school bus and going somewhere far away" field trips might be tied with standardized testing as the least favorite part of school for teachers.  I'm not a fan of such trips.  The walking trips aren't so bad - they are nearby, not too long, and we don't have to get on a school bus.  The school bus trips are the exact opposite of that.  And they are exhausting.  There's something about taking 24 kids out of the school boundaries that STRESSES ME OUT.  I'm very responsible and take very good care of my students, but I am petrified that I'm going to lose one or forget one when we are of campus.  Plus during field trips we are "on" the entire time.  There's no down time - no recess, no lunch, no bathroom breaks.  With the excitement of the trip itself, even the most well-behaved student loses his or her mind and all the school rules and procedures are forgotten.
Today's trip was to Oxnard to visit the Channel Islands visitor center where we learned about the local animals, the Chumash Indians, and got to visit the beach.  It's about a 40 minute drive north in the car and about an hour and a half by school bus - noisy, hot then cold then hot then cold, uncomfortable school buses.
 On our way!
Visiting the sea life at their little aquarium.  

 A visit to the observation tower to look out over the ocean and the harbor.
 Up close and personal with the sea life.
 Lunch and exploring on the beach. 
Even though it was a beautiful day, and after all was said and done a fun field trip, this is how I felt after it was all over.  Sadly, when you're the teacher you can't pass out in a bench seat on the school bus!
Field trips are exhausting for everyone.  The kids enjoy them so much though, so I continue to agree with going on them as the hands on experiences are invaluable.  But I'm a sleepy girl tonight.


  1. I have to say...that looks like one really fun field trip, or at least the aquarium part of it! (I'm not a beach person at all) I'm a sucker for an aquarium, especially when they have the "petting" sections (though I can't tell if they allowed touching there).

    Do parents go on these trips? When my kids were in elementary, parents were always used to help and, as a stay at home mom, I often got rooked into going. I'm not sure they use parents around here anymore.

    Hey, be glad it was just a day trip! My oldest granddaughter got to go to Space Camp (or I think that's where it was) in 4th grade (along with a couple of other stops) They were gone several days! This year (7th grade) they got to go to Washington DC.

    I'm surprised they didn't have yours on a Friday so you could have the weekend to recuperate. Hope today wasn't too bad for you! ;)

    1. I like the beach, but when I'm at the beach to enjoy myself it's in beach clothes. It's much different going on field trip there in jeans and sneakers. We all had to dump put our shoes before getting back on the bus. The neat thing was a lot of our kids had never been to the beach before, so it was very exciting to all, but especially those who were seeing it for the first time.
      We have some parent volunteers. I had a father who went with me because his son is severely allergic to peanuts so is required to go in case the epi pen needs to be administered, otherwise my parent participation this year is minimal. Each 2nd grade class had 1-2 volunteers so we had about 6 altogether. And they are helpful.
      We have minimum days on Fridays for planning time with our teams, so Thursday is like our last day plus it's long enough for the the trip. We wouldn't have gotten back in time on a Friday.
      I have some friends who have taken groups to DC before. That does sound overwhelming to me...I'd be a wreck. But I have heard that the tour groups actually do most of the supervision and the teachers just enjoy the ride. I could handle that! :)
      Once I took a group on the metro to downtown, and just getting them all on the train before the doors closed was enough excitement for the day as far as I was concerned. Traveling across the country is serious. Although, the kids that go on those trips are older and a bit more mature then the 7 year olds i work with. The trips are always the experiences the kids remember most.

    2. I was wrong when I said my granddaughter went to Space Camp. It was Sea Camp in Mobile AL.

      I can understand the fear of "losing" one. Especially in this day and age when you just never know what's going to happen. It's bad enough with your own children, but when you have the responsibility of someone else's child, that's a whole different level!

      Your Metro comment reminded me of a similar incident with the Tube in London and there were only four of us! I was the only one who made it on in the crush of things and it was a tense time until we were reunited.

    3. Sea camp sounds fun! Is that on a boat?!?! I never did sleep-away camp as I was too busy with the horses to leave for any length of time with the exception of long weekend or weeklong horse shows. But those types of activities without parents are good for kids to start gaining independence.
      The subway thing is scary with kids. I never wanted to that trip again. It's one thing to be separated as adults, but with kids, esp in a strange city, yikes!!

    4. No, it's not on a boat and now I'm not sure where it might be in Ocean Springs MS. I'd have to ask my daughter. Anyway... it's a field trip that particular school makes every spring with most of the 4th graders. The elementary schools in our community are each academically "themed". Of course every school teaches the basics, but each has a focus and hers was the "environmental studies" school.

      I always thought sleep away camp would be fun, but never got to go. Not that I was deprived since I had a swimming pool in my back yard and spent my summers there or at the river/lake swimming, skiing, etc. ;)

    5. Yah, there's something to be said for giving kids some downtime as opposed to planning something every minute of their day. A lot of kids are over planned these days, for a variety of reasons it seems. Just playing in the backyard is almost unheard of these days.
      I like the sound of themed schools. :)

  2. Ohhhh it wouldn't worry me at all. But then I've no ken as to what it takes to wrangle one kid never mind 20 odd.
    I don't get why no swim suit though.

    Is Oxnard the nearest public beach that would be safe for kids.

    1. It's not the closes one mileage-wise, but going North is less congested traffic-wise. The beaches west and south are closer, but in a school bus, during the work day, driving would have taken up most of our time.
      We weren't there long enough to make it a day at the beach with swimsuits and whatnot. After lunch, they only had about an hour to explore before we had to leave. The majority of the field trip was about the plants and animals in the area, the beach visit was just a perk. We've also been fighting with June Gloom over the last week. It was too cold for swimwear. Jeans and sweatshirts were needed.
      It's not that they are so hard to control (some are, but most aren't), it's just this (probably irrational) fear I have of losing one. I feel a bit like a herding dog when we go, trying to keep them in my site and to keep from wandering off. As much as the single file line is terribly regimented, it makes them easier to count! :)

  3. I try to chaperon any field trips D takes and it's such a joy to share those with him.. see him in his school environment. We have one coming up next week.. we are both so excited!

    1. I am sure he enjoys it so much. They do. The walk to the bus last week I had kids literally waving their arms giggling, "I'm so excited." Even more so, you joining them on their trip. That's very special. :)