This week has positively flown by. This could be a result of our lack of sleep over the weekend, but is more likely because we spent the week in anticipation of today. This morning was the first in the series of monthly field trips that the entire kindergarten section of our school embarks on, and it was most certainly an eye-opener.
The field trip was to the local(ish) arboretum – a collection of trees, rather similar to what would be called a botanical garden back home in South Africa. We were tasked with leading the children on a set path to a small grass field. There they would play rigorously until their lungs could only marginally function, at which point we would lead them back to the bus. It seemed like a simple task, far superior to our normal activity of standing in front of the children for three lessons attempting to control them long enough that they could learn something by accident. I was given my first hint as to the true nature of field trips when I expressed my eagerness to one of the teaching assistants and was met with a chuckle and being told that it was exhausting. This would turn out to be surprisingly true, but not for the reasons that I could predict.
I had expected to be chasing after my children, wrangling them out of trees, pulling various sharp pieces of the environment from various parts of their bodies, and constantly shouting their names in the hope that they would return. In reality, all I did was hold the hand of my most energetic student to ensure that he didn’t run (I would have had better luck with a leash) and be constantly vigilant. The children needed little more than a slightly raised voice and a threat to take away their beloved stars to return or cease whatever prohibited activity they were doing, whether it was littering or actively destroying a plant.
A pleasant side-effect to the field trip was that I was able to spend some time with my teaching assistant, who is also my supervisor. We conversed briefly about South Africa and the weather in the moments when the children were too stimulated by the environment around them to behave badly. While it wasn’t actually a deep, long, or serious conversation, it was nice to get to know the person who takes care of the little bundles of energy when I retreat to the teacher’s lounge during break times. I hope such opportunities arise again.
All in all, the field trip was exhausting and unexpectedly fun. It made a nice change to the routine of teaching, enjoyed thoroughly by both the students and us teachers. I wouldn’t want a field trip every day, but once a month it is nice to get out of the small school building and spend some time somewhere different. You never know what you can learn about the people you spend most of your week with when you put them in a different context. It’s refreshing, and something I shall look forward to for the future.