You might have notice a flurry of photos frolicking afross my facebook dash last feek. It was “Week Without Walls” at my school, where someone who probably has never had to chaperone a field trip decided that Kinder-2nd graders should totally go on field trips for four consecutive days and then top it off with a sleepover at school. The whole school (preK3-12th grade!!) participated to some extent.
And the idea is fantastic – take kids off campus and do some learnin’.
BUT if you’ve ever chaperoned a field trip, you’ll know that kids go absolutely bat shoot just to get on a bus. It’s all you can do to keep them out of the bathroom, buckled in their seats, and crumbs to a minimum from the snacks we hand out just to keep them quiet for three minutes altogether. And that’s before you’re even out of the parking lot.
It’s like the most potent dose of birth control known to man. Really. I recommend it for all teenagers contemplating unprotected sexy times. Trust me – you don’t want this yet.
We visited an orphanage on Monday, where my coworkers subtly checked my backpack when we left to make sure I hadn’t smuggled a small child back aboard the bus with me. Botanical Gardens on Tuesday, which I found fascinating and would totally go again. Recycling Center on Wednesday, which taught me a lot about how we’re destroying the planet at a pretty fast pace here in Brazil, and then a tiny farm place on Thursday.
The farm was my favorite. I realized how much I miss the Bay Area – seeing chicks and ducks and geese scurry, cows on the side of the road, llama farms and sheeps.
And I totally freaked out over the goats and saw many chickens pleasing to my aesthetic. As it is Brazil, there was also something hanging from the ceiling and I had to ask “monkey or snake?” The eternal questions.
Also, no matter the animal, the boys would immediately point to and start discussing the size of the testicles. (“LOOK AT HIS PENIS! HE’S PEEING WITH IT! LOOK AT THE BALLS! CARACA!” Every. Animal. “How do you know turtle is boy?” – even when they can’t see it, they want to see it. Amazing.)
And I held a snake. And I love goats SO MUCH and I took selfies with one and it was pretty much the best day.
Then. The Sleepover. The email asked me to coordinate ice breaker games, Disney karaoke, and, I quote, “11pm = Sneaky teacher time. Rachel to direct us on naughtiness.” Basically . . . . . everything I was born to do.
I had great plans for whipped cream on faces and feather tickles, hands in warm water, duct taping the naughty ones to the wall, dragging kids in sleeping bags out to the lagoa and floating them away on a raft a la “Parent Trap.” I was rubbing my hands together and cackling, CACKLING all week in anticipation.
The kids were predictably nuts – running around in the grass barefoot, throwing glowsticks everywhere, farting when it was dead silent.
I love that about teaching – whenever the kids are together at school when it’s an event, it’s better than anything in the world. They come at you all sweaty, glowing in the fun, full of gossip, needing water and snacks. You could have zero things planned and they would love it. NO PARENTS. NO UNIFORM. ITS DARK. LETS RUN. At what point in our lives do we lose the impetus to run from every location to the next location? I need a fire or large animal or visible insect or open bar around to make me do more than half-heartedly trot for a few moments.
We had them on a scavenger hunt, boys vs girls (which was a HUGE DEAL BECAUSE BOYS ARE THE WORST WE ARE IN SECOND GRADE WE HAVE TO WIN RUN FASTER COME ON), and I got to scream at them and scare them in the dark. We painted nails (I found out later that the “ugly” yellow polish I had put on was glow in the dark. Threw meself a little rave in me sleeping bag.) and played musical chairs and had a pajama parade. We had a pizza bar and ice cream and candy until we were sick. And then I fulfilled my lifelong dream to deejay…by setting up kid karaoke in a library.
I had more fun dancing with these kids than I do while tipsy dancing at weddings with adults. Although some of their moves were frighteningly suggestive (waaaay too much hip thrusting from the boys during “Gangham Style”) we mostly just jumped around and pretended we were in music videos, singing along to “Call Me Maybe” and “Glad You Came” and then doing karaoke to songs from “Frozen.” It was awesome. Very aerobic.
Then we got them to “bed,” and the symphony of snoring, farting, sleep walking/talking/sobbing/screaming, nightmares, trips to the loo, and air mattress crinkling absolutely outweighed my momentary joy to be sleeping in a room with air conditioning. I think the adults slept about 45 minutes?
We had planned on waking early to get up to the mischief, but honestly, had I been allowed access to a child in their sleep under that kind of stress, I might have caused actual damage. As it was, I rolled over to the girl next to me and said “You are the loudest thing that has ever happened,” and hit her with a pillow. She took it well.
The things they never tell you about in teaching school, ay? :) It’s the hard that makes it great.