The Classic Field Trip by Dina Ramon
I’ve finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up – a Professional Chaperone for School Field Trips. How’s that for a job title?! I decided this after a truly exceptional field trip with my daughter’s elementary school class to a museum in our Nation’s Capital. I never imagined I could enjoy a kids’ field trip so much…as an adult. And to think I had been hesitant to volunteer. Once I committed I realized I hadn’t chaperoned one of my daughter’s school-affiliated excursions since she was in Kindergarten and honestly, I was nervous. As it turned out, it was a piece of cake and a real treat for me. You could almost call it my mini vacation, or more like ‘staycation’ since I only traveled about 5 miles. But not only was it a day off from my regular job, I had the luxury of a small group tour, learned tons of (new to me) historical facts, and got free transportation. My responsibility as a chaperone meant I pretty much just had to make sure the kids stayed together, weren’t too loud and accompanied the girls to the ladies’ room. The kids were well-behaved and for the few who were a little rowdy, the teachers handled it. Plus, I got to spend time with my daughter and watch her in action as she asked questions of the docent, marveled at the exhibits, and worked through her on-site assignment which the teachers had coordinated beforehand. To see her and her classmates so excited about and engrossed in their museum assignments projects was truly endearing. I didn’t even have half the job of the teachers but was pleasantly exhausted when the bus dropped us back off at the school. Helping out in the classroom and being involved is rewarding but it is these kinds of ‘extra-work’ activities the teachers do with their students that always leaves me impressed (and appreciative) with how hard their job is…and how much they love it. Particularly since it is a job I feel totally incapable of. But on a field trip I feel like their talent and effective way with the students kindof rubs off on me in the nicest way possible. So, while teaching is not likely to be part of my future, they can count on me as a chaperone anytime!