Friday, January 7, 2011

When Chaperoning turns U-G-L-Y...

I am a career chaperone! I love it! I have a third- and a fourth-grader and I have been homeroom mom and class trip chaperone every year for one or both of them. I anxiously await my youngest to start school so I can carry on my tradition! The trips are always to somewhere fun, the groups are small and the kids are very well behaved...


UNTIL TODAY!

I had no idea what I was in for! I arrived at my son's classroom just in time to be assigned with my group. SIX kids! 4 girls, 2 boys! They are 9 & 10 year olds, shouldn't be too bad, right?! It wasn't until we loaded the bus. My sweet son is in the it's-cool-to-ride-in-the-very-back-seat stage! And also the have-mom-sit-on-the-inside-so-I-can-still-chat-w-my-friends stage. This is all fine with me b/c then I can text friends and just chill.

Apparently, however, the bus drivers got wind of some kind of hold up on the turnpike so we started our trip on back roads. Up and down, around and up again. That danged back seat flings you all over to heck and back! I think I was bleeding internally by the time we got to the Camden Aquarium!

My six kids and I got our bracelets and headed in to a facility that most obviously over-booked the day. I swear it was standing-room-only at most of the exhibits! Kids were cranky, the adults were crankier and my group was starving! Do people no longer feed their kids breakfast anymore? We had a schedule to abide by so I couldn't feed them until my schedule said to head for the Skyline Lunchroom!

By this time I had kept an eye on my group, freaked out onscolded one child for her melt-down and tried to lose themmade sure we all arrived at the lunchroom safely.

I think I would have been OK finishing the trip and heading home on my own. I really think the return trip did me in. No one should even be made to ride 90 minutes on a bus filled with 2-3 kids (apparently who ALL needed Ritalin) to a seat, only a handful of chaperones and enough video game paraphernalia to keep us off the Ben Franklin Bridge due to excessive weight.

There were kids singing to their iPods and I am being kind by saying "singing" - one girl just had her mouth open and all the sounds of hell were coming out of her face...I watched her thinking she was having a stroke or something but apparently the music was so loud that she THOUGHT SHE WAS SINGING!

Then there was a group of boys who had "linked" their Nintendo DS's and were playing some race game that causes you to lose all sense of how loud you are screaming in the nice lady chaperone's ears as you egg on your opponents with your trash talk. One small kid, whose mouth was bigger than he was, screamed, "OH, YOU ARE GOIN' DOWWWWWWN!" so loud in my ear that I saw stars and I honestly imagined myself head-butting him! ME...headbutting a 9-year old! That would be the LAST field trip of my career, I imagine! Maybe not such a bad idea...

The noise on that bus was deafening! COMPLETELY deafening!

When we finally arrived back at the school, I saw a dear friend leaving her bus looking frazzled. She and I have known each other since we were the STUDENTS on the field trip bus! And as I walked past her I said, " I have come to the conclusion that I could never be a bus driver." She looked me square in the eyes and said, "I have come to the conclusion that I will be stopping by the liquor store on the way home!" (thanks "B" - that was the best laugh I have had in a long time!)

Today, while dropping off a forgotten instrument at school , I ran into the gifted teacher who chatted with me for a minute about "my group" for Friday. Yep....just call me GFP, (Glutton For Punishment) - I am off on another field trip as "Queen Chaperone" on Friday, yes, like TOMORROW! I close my eyes, rub my temples and start my mantra, "It's aaaaallllllll blog fodder, it's aaaaalllllll blog fodder..." which quickly starts to sound a little like, "There's no place like home....there's no place like home..."
lost

23 comments:

Beth said...

Too funny!! You know you wouldn't trade it for the world!! I can't wait to go on field trips with my kids!

Debbie Yost said...

I have only had the opportunity to chaperone once for my children. That's when my now 12 year old was in 1st grade. We went to the zoo. I am not very good chaperone material but Monday we put it to the test again when I help take a class of 3-4 year old preschoolers to our local petting zoo, some with special needs including my daughter. Pray for me and patience please!

Mabunny said...

I've been on a few field trips with mydaughter. I've also helped out with Field Day and other school events. Last year on field day , it was raining, so they decided it was ok to have a bounce house and a ton of other actiities in the school!
Figure in the humidity, hundreds of sweaty , sugar energized ,loud children and you have a problem, lol.
So hot and muggy that one little girl got done with one thing, said I don't feel well and as i started to walk behind her outinto the foyer she barfed, all over the place! thank God another teacher noticed and took her to the nurse. I truned quickly away before I barfed.
Hope you can relax a bit on Saturday

Mabunny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kalynne Pudner said...

I hope you stopped at the liquor store on the way to the bus this time.

wendyquell said...

Hilarious! I am going on a fieldtrip on Tuesday with 350 8th graders, I am sure I will need to hit the liquor store after that!

The Journey Begins Here said...

This was the best thing I have read in a long time! I had to make sure that you wrote it and not me, however. I just went to the Academy of Natural Sciences with the kindergartens (I had 7 in my group...yep 7!) And 5 were from the AM class so I didn't know them. I thought that was rough until I went to Pennsbury Manor with the fourth grade. The bus ride almost killed me!

My fourth grader went to the Camden Aquarium when she was in kindergarten. But the teacher got smart and change it to the Academy this year. Boy, that place is a nightmare!!! I'll never forget it either.

I can't wait to read about the other trip. Thanks for the laugh.
love T

Wildwood Girls said...

My son's teacher forgot to add me to the list for his latest field trip and I was really bummed about it. Maybe I should be thanking my lucky stars!

I too have been forced to sit in the back. Women should never have to do this. Anything past the wheel well should be labeled men only. That's all I'm sayin'...

I am Heather...creator of all things crafty! said...

The wheels on the bus go round and round....round and round. Sounds like you had a GREAT time (sarcasm intended). Just think, at least you were one of the parents who actually got to be present on their child's field trip. Many other parents cannot say the same. Just looking for the silver lining. Wink.

Heather

Kim Wheedleton said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA! I've been to that aquarium (but luckily I drove myself, since I was a tag-along and not an official chaperone). I think they overbook on purpose, then sit in back rooms and watch the chaperones on monitors while pointing and laughing...

Tracy said...

I am finally going on my first field trip next week and now I am nervous! I haven't been on a school bus for ten years. God I hope I don't yack. I don't want to be "that mom!"

Julie said...

If at all possible, I try to carpool with another parent on the way to/from field trips. I have ridden on a bus with a bunch of 3rd graders before, and that was not much fun...

Have fun on your field trip today!!! LOL

abdelmoaty said...

your blog is really admirable,would you please allow me translated into Arabic ,you have many wonderful ideas i found interesting to the Arab reader,thank you and good luck

Becoming Me said...

OK, I felt a panic attack coming on just reading that post.

abdelmoaty said...

funny that the word ARABIC induces A PANIC ATTACK !!
SORRY FOR BEING A TERRORIST TRANSLATOR :)

Sue said...

You had better stop at the liquor store before the trip and lace your Starbucks with something.

I have one coming up in a few weeks, 2 hours away. Yippee!

Laski said...

Woman--your guts are made of steel . . .

I am Heather...creator of all things crafty! said...

P.S. What a darling necklace, whereever did you get it. Wink wink.

Dawn said...

Oh man! That sounds like my house on pretty much any given day. LOL!
Poor Michelle. I haven't done the chaperoning thing in years because I always have the little ones that I can't take along. Maybe that's a good thing!

Elizabeth said...

OK, no fair...I spit cookie on the monitor with the comment about noise from Hell!

Schhol Trip from HELL:
I was the eighth grade advisor at the elementary school where I taught...we used to take them (40-50 8th graders) to Washington D.C. every year...oh my.
One year the boys found these cool "zapper thingies" (they looked like lighters, but gave you an electric shock if you tried to "light it") at a store in Union Station...THEN we went to the Capitol Building. A security guard picked it up from the tray where you empty your pockets and my friend-the music teacher started to tell him NOT to try it, but he did. We were almost denied admission on that one!
I am very happy that as a homeschooler, we get do do our own field trips where ever and when ever we like!
Blessings and good fortune on your new endeavor...I may want to get involved...I'll have to see if I can pull it off.
Pax, EJT

Cathy C. said...

There is a remedy for those kinds of field trips from Heck...send your kids to Catholic School. They are so pumped that they can wear regular clothes that they behave the whole time. Any electronics are banned from the bus. Two kids to a seat...and the fear of Catholic School Demerits always hangs in the balance!
Good post, Michelle.

Ann said...

I get 'cha! I've done it (and I'm sure I'll do it again).

You are very strong to stop yourself from head-butting. You are to be commended.

Misty Stoltzfus said...

Love, love, love your honesty here! I went on both my kids field trip's last year - and the kindergarten one to the orchard was great - except for the bus ride! I really think they should offer earplugs to all the parent chaperones:) It does depend a lot on the field trip, too. Our 1/2 grade classes have always done the Dutch Apple Dinner theater every year, and from what I hear, it's awesome.. Kids get to eat a kid-friendly buffet and watch a show. I am with driving down separately and meeting them at the location, though:)