The end of the school year means one thing – besides backpacks sent home filled with crumpled spelling worksheets, artwork, pencil nubs and capless markers. I’m talking about field trips. These school-induced excursions usually involve rain, along with a few other elements – namely a signed permission slip, $8 for admission to some museum, a bag lunch and chaperones.
Three out of five dictionaries define chaperone as: 1. “The parent who always sends permission slips back on time and volunteers every Tuesday to help kids with math.” Or, more often: 2. “A parent, who out of guilt for not volunteering during the regular school year, justifies that taking one day to visit a nature center to learn about turtles, sharks, butterflies or fill-in-the-name-of-your-favorite-animal-here will make up for this huge and indiscriminate indiscretion.”
I fit into definition number two. (Why do I always end up feeling like number two?) I do not, regrettably, volunteer on Tuesdays, and have never considered myself tutor-worthy – in just about any subject, including math.
Because of the aforementioned factors, I found myself on a yellow school bus, filled to the brim with fifth graders, in the middle of single-lane road construction, en route to a museum and aquarium for a day filled with both historic and amphibious learning.
I was assigned a small group of six students. Teachers consider six small because they deal with 25 or more kids each day. They also have bionic ears and eyes in the back of their heads. I was born with only normal hearing. Moms like me do not consider six children a small group. To us, it’s more like the Brady bunch. I am proud to say I kept my group in tow for most of the day, except for once or twice when I misplaced a couple of them. But, hey, who’s counting? Has anyone seen Brady?