What I learned from Chaperoning a First Grade Field Trip

 The first grade teachers hate EOGsS almost as much as the teachers of grades actually taking the tests.  In first grade you don’t actually take the EOGs.  However, because the other students are uber stressed out about the tests, you have to be super quiet. Meaning that you don’t get to participate in your “specials” like gym, art, library or other activities because that would involving walking down the hallway and making noise. You also don’t get to go outside for recess because the noise might carry inside and disrupt the test takers.  EOG time is painful for the first grade students, and hellacious for the teachers trying to enforce silence.  So, this year the first-grade teachers got super smart and planned a field trip off-site.  We left as school started and arrived back after dismissal. No need to be quiet.  I volunteered to chaperone. 

Our destination was an outdoor park area with a nature center and other activities.  We were taking charter buses. I arrived at school before the departure time so I could help with the organization. Riding the bus with 2 1/2 classes were myself, another parent and two teachers.  These are the things I learned from my experience:

  1. Trying to herd 19 children to the bathroom is like trying to control a pit of slippery worms.  Someone will inevitably get locked in a stall and cry because they can’t get the door unlocked and are scared to slide underneath the stall because the floor is dirty. Someone else will forget to lock the door, thereby causing someone to walk in on them and resulting in more tears. There will be water flicking. And apparently no first grader has EVER learned to flush the toilet.  There will also be one boy student who insists on announcing that he had to poop.
  2. The two students who were best friends at the start of the trip will have a fight midway through, resulting in the need to switch all seating assignments. Just when you’ve figured out who Bessie can sit next to now, the two will make up.
  3. Every first grade has a dying need to be first.  Failure to be first results in pushing and shoving.
  4. There are a hundred differing opinions on whether it is acceptable to let someone get in line in front of you. Or in front of you and trade spaces, thereby putting them behind you.  Is it being polite? Or is it cutting in line?
  5. In every group there is one whiner, one who absolutely can not listen, one hyperactive kid, a wanderer, a complainer and one who needs constant shadowing.
  6. It is absolutely apalling amazing how unfit and unhealthy first grade children are. They get out of breath after walking short distances, plop down on the ground and insist they can not go any further.
  7. The lunches packed for first graders are nutritionally void of all good things. One child had two Snickers bars (yes two), a bag of oreos and a bag of cheetos, topped off with a water bottle to which she added Kool-Aid powder. Many other children had similar lunches.  For afternoon snack they were offered water and many complained they didn’t like water. They wanted soda or sugary juice.
  8. First graders absolutely can not sit quietly through a nature presentation where they get to see and touch snakes, hedgehogs, alligators and other such animals.
  9. First graders will announce (LOUDLY) when an animal stinks.
  10. First grade teachers do not get paid NEARLY enough.  They deserve a huge pay raise.
  11. Charter buses with built-in DVD players are worth every penny. 

Last night I tucked my worn-out child into bed and she sleepily smiled and thanked me for coming. She said, “I love you mommy. I am lying her thinking about the bus ride home when I got to snuggle with you and lay my head on your lap and you rubbed my back.”  Awwww my big 7 1/2 year old still needs me.  That is worth every blister and bag of rocks I had to carry.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lawyerchik1
    May 19, 2011 @ 14:18:57

    Awww! 🙂 Sounds like a great day, though – especially the ending!! Glad you got to go with the class!


  2. DM
    Jun 30, 2011 @ 20:47:57

    just popping in to check on you. DM


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