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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Why School Excursions Are Not As Fun As You Think!


It was messy chaos at 8:30 in the classroom this morning. The school bus was leaving at 8:45 sharp and what with misplaced permission slips for our class excursion, missing lunches, water bottles and late or absent students, I was feeling a mite stressed.

“Mrs P’s in a bad mood,” I heard one of them inform the others, “she has that witchy look she gets when she’s cranky, plus she just snapped at me when I told her we were running late for the bus and Miss T’s class left five minutes ago.”

Finally, the highly strung throng of ten year olds all had their backpacks sorted, hats on heads, were queued up in two relatively orderly lines and chafing at the bit to get the show on the road.

I counted the kids on to the bus; twenty-five, twenty-six… the bus was full. A second coach was parked behind us with O’Reilly and the new Irish teacher’s classes ensconced inside.

They could squeeze my extra two students in; but guess what? 

Both buses were completely full so long suffering Pinky was going to have to assume a standing position for the half hour journey.

I use ‘standing’ in a loose sense of the term. 

Ricocheting between the seats as the driver careened around corners, lurching forward perilously close to the windscreen and falling heavily into the laps of frail children is closer to the reality of the situation. And all the time my much younger teaching buddy, Rachael (Miss T), sat comfortably in her seat gazing at the scenery and ignoring the hapless old biddy clattering around the bus like a solitary Malteser in an otherwise empty box.

With shaking legs I disembarked the bus leading the sixty students to our first port of call, the ornate and historical, century old Sacred Heart Cathedral where the Bishop was to guide us around the stained glass windows and numerous sacred spaces. 

We were even privileged to hear a demonstration of the massive organ being played.

“This would be a great place to get married,” I commented to Rachael, “what with the organ and the bell tower outside.”

She looked dreamy for a second then turned to me abruptly, “Yes it would,” she said, “but don’t think I’ll be inviting you, Pinky. You’d drink all the wine.”

After morning tea in the park, (where I ate my bruised banana and longed wistfully for a hot cup of tea… or a rum and coke) we moved on to our next destination of the pilgrimage, St Joseph’s Church; which is the oldest Catholic Church in the city, dating back to 1862.

Our intended expert speaker had been unfortunately called away to other pressing duties so it was left to me to do the guided tour which was slightly unnerving as I really didn’t know much about the church. 

Some parents had driven in to help manage the sixty odd kids and I was quite conscious of the fact that the non-factual facts I was about to inflict upon the students was not going to cut it with adults.

“I was married in this church about twenty-five years ago!” I began, grinning like a fool and hoping for a sign of interest. There was silence. At least no one piped up with, 

Which marriage was that then Mrs P? The first or the second?

Somehow I managed to blather through a half hour talk expanding the flimsy knowledge I owned by using a sh#t load of adjectives. Unlike me, don’t you think?

At last the field trip was finished and as one of the boys decided to drive back to school with his mother I was euphorically in possession of a seat on the bus for the homeward journey.

I sat beside little Matthew, who is a computer game addict and effusive chatterbox. The unsteady rocking of the bus, caffeine deficiency, the high decibel racket of sixty kids and the constant garrulous one-sided conversation from Matthew somehow managed to send me into a semi-comatose state.

I awoke refreshed when we arrived back at school and cheerily stood at the bottom of the bus steps asking the kids if they enjoyed their excursion.

“NO!” replied one little boy emphatically, “It was boring! Churches are boring! Why couldn’t we go to the animal sanctuary?”