Learning smells like diesel. That's the observation my teaching partner made to me as we watched about 36 middle school kids re-board a tour bus in the parking lot of the jelly belly factory. Of course, later on in the field trip, after telling everyone else on the bus that they were not to use the bathroom unless it was an emergency because it would make the entire bus smell, we returned to find the driver had taken a massive evacuation of fecal matter in there and we found out just how true that warning was. Then, we were wishing for the smell of diesel back. Actually, the smell of anything else. Seriously, I think my eyes are still watering, and my soul, my soul has not recovered.
But it was a good trip. Four days. Four colleges. A Sharks Game. The Exploratorium. A Fortune cookie factory. Jelly Belly (the factory, not the bus driver, because...ew). Marine World. Me. My teaching partner. Three parents. 26 kids. Pus a group from another school on our bus, but more on that later.
The biggest problem: telling one of my kids on the first day to clean up his potty mouth. I told him to remember that he was to act as if he was at school, then I remembered that he WAS acting like he was at school. But no big. I've been known to drop an f-bomb here and there. IN fact, told that was the bigeest problem, my wife, ever the suportive one, replied with "It was Chad, wasn't it." He was good once I talked to him, and so was I.
At the exploratorium, I showed one of my kids the exhibit where the sound waves are sent into water, making the water ripple and spike like a seismometer. I told him, "that's what's happening to your ear when you're listening to your ipod."
"But I see you listening to your ipod," he replied, to which I responded "huh?" and walked away. I didn't see his headphones on the rest of the trip. Sorry, Thomas. I was kidding. I think.
No one stole anything, no one snuck into anyone else's room for immoral purposes, no one fell off a balcony while trying to shout at the people in the parking lot, no one got left behind, no one got injured. So, that's a win. Except for the kid the parents paid me to lose, because, despite my best efforts, he somehow made it back. Yes, I'm keeping the money. What are they going to do?
The teacher from the other school that was on our bus was "interesting." An older lady, she wouldn't even let her boys and girls sit in mixed company on the bus and at breakfast. She completely ripped a strip off one of my girls because of something she misheard them talking about in a private conversation. She then threatened to write a letter to my school about how horrible my kids were, but I warned the administration that the Mt. Shasta fraternization nazi was firing off a missive, and they don't seem to care.
Speaking of which, while I was gone, the students left behind were actually good, my family seemed to actually miss me, and my principal disappeared. Seriously, completely, witness protection got me, witnessed a mob hit disappeared. The official story is "away on a family emergency" but the office is completely cleaned out, including the posters on the wall. Gone.
I swear I had nothing to do with it.