We spent the morning learning about history; the afternoon about watery ecosystems. We came. We saw. We touched. We splashed. We conquered.
After the aquarium personnel fed the otters, it was time to board the hot, yellow, crowded school bus for home. I could hardly stop myself from letting out a cheer. I was ready to sit in the less-than-comfortable, faux leather, all-too-upright bus seats. Who am I kidding? I was ready to sleep there.
But, our field trip wasn’t over yet. Hooray. Here’s one of the many things I learned that day: fifth grade kids are still young enough to sit three to a seat in a regulation school bus. This means they are three times more likely to do something silly, loud or irritating.
One would think after several lessons about World War II fighter pilots and various water-loving critters, the kids would be a tiny bit tired. (Oh, please let them be tired.) At least you’d hope they’d be quiet.
They were neither. The ones in my small group were mostly wet. I found fifth graders to be extremely hands-on when it comes to aquariums.
The parents on the bus, while dry, were exhausted. At least I was. We’d earned exhaustion. We’d spent the day trying to help kids learn. Do you know how difficult that is? God bless the teachers who do this on a daily basis, and I mean that with my entire, depleted being.
On the way home, after all this wholesome learning, one child – who happened to be in my small group all day – decided to yell the word “pop” over and over again. Mind you, this was in an already decibel-laden bus full of 11-year-olds.
I was seated no more than five feet from said popper. Through the glazed daze of kid overkill I leaned back and prepared to close my eyes in attempt to get to my happy place. I didn’t even register the fact that someone was yelling the “P” word. Heck, as far as I was concerned, everyone was yelling. It was a gosh darn free for all, except, of course, everyone remained seated (Bus Rule #1).