Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 28 - Chaperoning

I went as a chaperone today on Puttachi's field trip to Mission San Juan Bautista. The kids in fourth grade are learning about the missions, how they affected Native Americans, and so on, connected with the history of California, and this field trip is a part of that education.

I was in charge of 6 kids, and once we got to the mission on the school district bus, we were essentially left alone to do as we pleased - 1 chaperone with 6 kids. I dare you to try minding six opinionated nine-and-ten-year-olds with completely different personalities, who each want to do their own thing.

In my group, I had:

2 Hermione-types, who wanted to see everything and do everything, and read all the boards down to the last full stop. They wanted to follow the written guide to the T and find everything mentioned in the guide, and IN THE SAME ORDER. (Full Disclosure - one of the Hermiones is Puttachi.)

1 boy who stated quite flatly that he was on the field trip just because he had heard that there was a Rock Shop (that sold rocks) and an Ice-Cream shop and he wanted to buy stuff.

1 girl who doesn't know English, but I didn't need language to know that she complained bitterly and constantly to the other girl (who understood her) about me. Finally I demanded to know what it was all about, and it turned out that she wanted to go to the Rock Shop too while I was taking them around the mission and telling them about (horrors!) history. This girl cheered up immediately the moment we went to the Rock Shop and remained pleasant thereafter (even when I spoke about history - after all, she didn't understand a word.)

1 girl, the one who understood the girl above, who also declared that she was here for the Ice-cream shop and nothing else. (Btw, it was just an ordinary ice-cream shop.)

And finally, 1 boy - who lost 5 of his 10 dollars of shopping money within ten minutes of arriving, and so, after that, was grumpy throughout, insisting on retracing his steps all along to find the $5 note (all of us had to go with him because the group had to stay together, and no, he didn't find it) The rest of the time, he lagged behind, disappearing suddenly by wandering off into a sidelane or into another room in a museum - generally giving me several heart attacks and causing some severe greying of my hair. He also took ages to finish his lunch (after which he was marginally more cheerful) and spent 20 minutes in the bathroom after that (with all of us waiting outside, because, well, you know, we have to stay together) - and then finally, complaining to me hotly about the 2 Hermione-types because they were taking too long to read about history in the museum ("What is so interesting?")

So to manage the desires and wants of these six, I was pulled in six different directions, and it is a wonder that we did manage to see what we could. And no, we didn't go to the ice-cream shop, and hence I earned the unending wrath of two of the aforementioned.

But yes, chaperoning is so enlightening, and so much fun, that although each time after being a chaperone, I say, "Never again!" I end up doing it all over again!

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