Sunday, April 21, 2013

What I Learned on a Fifth Grade Field Trip

Last week, I went with Rachel and about 65 other fifth graders plus a couple dozen chaperones/parents on an overnight field trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  With three kids, it is rare that I get the opportunity to focus on just one of them - especially for two days.  I learned a lot.  Some if it I already knew or kind of knew, but the experience made it even clearer.  Here's my list.

What I Learned on a Fifth Grade Field Trip

  • Rachel's love of animals is intense and deep.  We had the opportunity to go fishing.  After I described the process, assuring her the fish would be tossed back in the water, she chose not to do it.  She felt it was mean to disturb the animals, especially considering that it involved a hook in its mouth.  However, she did agree to watch others.  A classmate of hers actually caught a baby shark.  Upon seeing it reeled in- hook in the mouth and blood dripping, Rachel was completely distraught.  She curled up in my lap and sobbed like a baby.
  • Fifth grade girls can be incredibly mean.  After one of the men on the boat explained to Rachel that the hook in the shark's mouth was nothing more than a person getting a skinned knee and promised that he would personally put the shark back in the water, she began to calm down.  Then, a girl who is supposedly her friend, told her they had killed the shark and we started all over.  Needless to say, I had a few choice words for that "friend" and I don't think she will find it necessary to be mean again (at least not to my child.)
  • Fifth grade girls (and boys) can also be compassionate and caring.  Several kids asked what was wrong with Rachel.  Some even rubbed her back or offered a hug.  Her very best friend actually shed a few tears herself because it bothered her to see Rachel so upset.
  • Sand dollars are actually a type of sea urchin - keyhole sea urchins to be exact.
  • History is cool.  Thanks to my dad, I already knew this, but it is nice to be reminded.  We went to the historic city of Beaufort which included a tour of a VERY old cemetery.  It sounds morbid, but was very interesting.  We also heard stories about the old houses, who lived in them, and how the town came to be.  We went to Fort Macon as well, and, again, got lots of interesting lessons about the Revolutionary war.
  • The beach is peaceful.  (Again, already knew this, but enjoyed the reminder.)  We went to a place called Shackelford Island.  We "hiked" from the sound side of the island across the dunes to the ocean side where there was a basically undisturbed beach.  We had some time to walk up and down a stretch of the beach looking for shells.  Even with all those kids and chaperones milling around, the crash of the ocean waves was soothing and serene.  I would have been content to stay there all day.   
  • Apparently, fifth graders believe Golden Corral is just as exciting as having dinner at a candy store.  In fact, I think many of them ate cotton candy and chocolate covered strawberries for the bulk of their meal.
  • The escapade at Golden Corral reminded me that Rachel really is a responsible, trustworthy kid.  Given the many options on the buffet, she chose for her vegetarian self a baked potato (with toppings).  Only after eating that did she have a couple chocolate covered strawberries for dessert.  (It is possible that this level of restraint had something to do with the fact that I was sitting a the table with her.  However, I choose to believe that she would have made reasonable decisions even if I wasn't there.)
  • When you are with fifth grade girls, drama is imminent.  I was in charge of Rachel and two other girls.  Of course, there was Rachel's shark/fishing drama.  Then, one of the girls had a headache and didn't want to eat any dinner.  Finally, the third lost a tooth when she was brushing her teeth that evening in our hotel room and I have never seen a tooth bleed that much!  
  • Teachers do not get paid enough.  This is another fact of which I am painfully aware, but it never hurts to re-emphasize it.  TEACHERS DO NOT GET PAID ENOUGH!!!
  • My kids are not the only picky eaters in the planet (Thank goodness!).
  • In many ways - some good; some bad - Rachel is so much like me. So many times during those two days I saw little pieces of myself in her.  My personality, my mannerisms, my insecurities.  But, at the same time, she is her own person.  I am so proud of Rachel and all my girls.  I love their quirks and their eccentricities (even though they sometimes drive me mad!).  And, I love watching them grow into the people they are becoming.  They have ideas, and dreams, and convictions, and fears, and joys, and interests all their own.  Having an opportunity to see Rachel in that light was such a gift and I am so very thankful for it!    
By the way, I did take several pictures on this trip.  However, all of them included other students with Rachel.  Therefore, in order to respect the privacy of those individuals, I chose not to upload any of the pictures onto the blog!  Hope you understand!

1 comment:

a happier girl said...

Stopping by from Sharefest! How lovely! I totally know what you mean about having more than one kid and not getting as many chances to spend time focused on just one. Makes the times you do that much more special!

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