What I learned chaperoning a middle school field trip

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We all need to challenge ourselves. Some people learn a new language while others run a marathon. Some might learn to cook healthier while others set out to build their own deck or finish the basement on their own. The adventurous might go skydiving or take on Mount Everest.

Me? I chaperoned a middle school field trip. Climbing Mount Everest should be a breeze.

I didn’t set out the year intent on taking this little adventure. But Celeste came home a month or so ago with a permission slip for a field trip to The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore.

Her sixth-grade class had been learning about Ancient Greece, and the trip would let them see first hand some of the art they had been learning about in class.

“They need chaperones, Daddy,” Celeste told me one night, her eyes welling up with hope. “You would get to ride the bus with us. Can you do it?”

I paused as images of Mr. Rooney climbing aboard the school bus during the credits of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” raced through my head.

The idea of chaperoning a middle school field trip did not thrill me, but I could tell Celeste wanted me to do it, so I ultimately agreed. A few days before the trip, I asked people on my Facebook page for any tips they might have:

  • Don’t look them directly in the eye they smell your fear.
  • The fetal position generally shields the vital organs. But at least protect your head and groin.
  • Ear plugs.
  • Start out tough. You can always ease up. If you start out weak, it’s already too late to get tough. First impression is will let them know what’s acceptable.
  • Have fun!

What am I getting myself into? I thought. Too late to back out now. And I’m glad I didn’t because if I had, I wouldn’t have learned these valuable lessons.

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2 Responses to What I learned chaperoning a middle school field trip

  1. Rita Patterson says:

    Jeff, loved your assessment of the fieldtrip! Also, the photo of you and Celeste!

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