Yesterday was one of those endless days. It is my own fault, but still it was long. I had a field trip and had my usual nanny gig until 6 last night. No biggy since I get paid on Thursdays so it is always fun to walk out with a wad of cash in my pocket. Well about a month ago I told the woman I nannied for this summer that I could watch her kids last night. So I left job # 1 to go to job #2 and after went to job #3. By the end of the night I was toast and thank goodness my wife was there to make me some mac and cheese (boy am I classy). I also got to snuggle with a baby, so I enjoyed that.
Today we are watching a video. I know, great teacher huh? In my defense it is a video that is totally content related and the kids will be doing a project on their notes so I am not a complete slacker.
So since the kids are watching a video I can recap yesterday's field trip. Apart from being a long day yesterday it also had a few adventures. My team went to the Minute Man National Park to learn about the revolution. I have been several times and it is pretty cool. There is a nice video about the events that lead to that "shot heard round the world" and it was a beautiful fall day so the small hikes were really nice and pretty. We had two buses so one group started at the North bridge and the other (mine) started at the visitor's center. The adults on my bus included the social studies teacher, the ELL teacher, two special ed teachers, and myself. The other included the math teacher, the English teacher, three special ed aides, and the gym teacher. I was surprised to find that that I was on the bus with the social studies teacher. As the two most experienced teachers on the team it would make sense to break us up. Since I knew there were some directions to get to all the stops of this trip I was worried about the other bus getting where it needed to go. Since my friend Jen was the bus leader and she can't find her way out of a pickle jar I had a right to worry, and yes they got lost for a while but found their way somehow to the correct place eventually. On the other hand I thought we were home free. Boy was I wrong.
We made it to the first stop no problem watched the video, took a short hike, and ate our lunch at the Paul Revere capture site then boarded the bus to go to our second stop. All was going well until our bus drove past the parking lot for the North Bridge, so we continued on looking for a place to turn around. If you are not from the area the national park is located in Concord, MA and the road we were on was a typical, long, narrow road with lots of blind turns. Not a place to try to turn around a bus. So we drove for a couple of miles and the bus driver passed several places to turn around(like a bloody school!) but no, he spies a private drive and a field. So down the private drive we went and on to the field. It had rained buckets the day before and the field had standing water...thus a quagmire that we quickly got stuck in. So after trying to get ourselves unstuck by spinning the tires and digging ourselves deeper in the muck we got all the kids off the bus. After a few more attempts with the empty bus we started to get creative. Good thing there was a marine (the social studies teacher) and a lesbian to take control of the situation (the bus driver was no help). So the marine started gathering large branches to try to get the wheels to catch on. No luck with that. I knew what we really needed were a couple of 2x10s and a tractor. Luckily we were in farm country so off to the farm across the street to procure some supplies the lesbian went. I returned with the farmer, a tractor, and a chain. In a matter of ten minutes the farmer had our bus unstuck and after a quick stop at the house which owned the field, we were on our way again. We got back to our missed stop and had an abbreviated tour of the site with a very nice man dressed as a minute man costume carrying a real musket.
On the way back to the bus a student turned to me and said "This was the best field trip ever!" "Why?" I asked. She replied "We got to see a tractor, there were really cool toilets at the visitor center, and the guy shot a gun!"
So what did the kids learn on this trip? Well, I think they learned a little bit about the Revolution but a whole lot about how to be a good human being. When I got to the farm I was greeted by two women who asked immediately "Do you have a bus stuck in the field?, How can we help/" No rolls of the eyes about the city slickers not knowing to stay off a wet field with a bus or telling me they were busy. Just a plain offer of help. They called the farmer on the walkie talkie and he immediately stopped what he was doing and drove his tractor up to help us. He grabbed a chain and fixed the problem. No questions asked and no anger at ruining his field. He just helped.
I have been thinking about this since it happened and talked to my kids about it today (before we watched the movie). How many times have I been asked to help and it wasn't convenient so I bowed out? How much better would the world be if we all just dropped what we are doing and helped people when they needed help? So we talked about good karma and paying it forward in my class today.
If they heard my message maybe I am not such a crappy teacher after all.