Tuesday, May 10, 2016

2nd Grade Field Trip

I normally don't post about my school stuff on here, but this story is just too crazy for me to not include on my blog to help me remember.

It all started back in September. I am what is called the CTL on my 2nd grade team. It just means that I am the team lead for the year (well, two years). Anyway, we discussed going to the Scera Theatre for our 2nd grade field trip for the year. They turn children's books into plays and they are adorable. We had done it before and it was very successful. Well, those plays don't happen until February so we decided to wait a little bit until we actually tried scheduling it... first mistake. 

October came and I went ahead and tried to schedule our group to go to the play. Well it turns out, it was all sold out! We were devastated. It was supposed to be Peter Pan and I'm sure it would've been awesome. 

I put our name on the waitinglist and hoped for the best. In January, someone from the Scera contacted me saying that they had had some cancellations and had a spot for us. I thought our luck had changed! Well, we're not the smallest school so our second grade group was pretty large. We needed 150 spots (that is less than our 220 the year before, mind you). They said the most they could give us was 140 and even that was really pushing it. Well, we really couldn't do it with that number, so we gave up the dream and started looking elsewhere.

We asked for field trip suggestions from other teachers, from parents, from anyone we could think of, and we could just not make it work. Either the spot was already booked for the year, or they couldn't accommodate our numbers.

Next came local school plays. Our middle school always does a play and invites the nearby elementary schools to come and enjoy them. This year they were doing Cinderella, but again, they said they did not have the spots for us. Again, I was frustrated. I had asked plenty of time in advance and it was still not available to us. After several emails and phone calls back and forth, they finally figured out a way to let us all come. We thought we were all set to go. The middle school was even going to provide the buses, making the field trip completely free! When I asked for the date of when they perform for the elementary schools, it was the exact same as our school program! I couldn't believe it! Of all the days, it had to be the one day that we could in no way make work. We were thwarted once again.

In a last ditch effort to provide some semblance of a field trip for our dear second graders, we decided we would book the local park and do some games there. It wasn't super glamorous, but it was something, and honestly the kids were very excited about it. 

The day of the field trip came and it was over cast. The beginning of the week had been amazing weather, but of course the day of, wasn't so good. We kept our eye on the Weather app. It finally came time to decide whether or not we should go, so we checked the app, it said only 15% chance of raining, so off we went. I have to say, it was against my better judgment. I really should've paid attention to my gut... ultimately I made the call and I regret it.

As we started walking, it began to drizzle a little. When it didn't really seem like it was going to let up, I decided to call off the field trip and just return to the school to play some games. I felt bad about this because it was a Friday, so we couldn't just postpone it and we had asked for parent help, but I knew that it needed to called off. Well, I was the last class in our line traveling to the park so the other teachers were far ahead of me. I tried calling the  teacher leading the walk, but couldn't get a hold of her. The teacher just in front of me started to run ahead to tell her to turn around. Once she was gone, I was finally able to get a hold of the first teacher. She told me that she was already at the park and they had started eating. So, even though I was planning on turning around, I decided we will just all have to go to the park, eat lunch, then turn around.

While we were eating, the drizzle stopped, so we thought, why not? We'll try out some games. As soon as we got the kids to their stations, it began to slightly rain again. I kept an eye on the rain and decided that if I saw lightning or the rain got any worse, we would head back. As soon as I saw a lightning strike, we left. Bad timing!!! Second mistake.

The kids were disappointed, but started heading back, singing as they walked. Again, I was with the last group of kids walking along. When my group was about halfway between the park and the school it started to rain harder, then suddenly it began to hail and it hailed hard!! It was shredding the trees, pelting our poor students, and created an amazing amount of chaos in a very short amount of time.

The kids began to scream and cry, and the adults were trying to tuck as many kids under a few tiny umbrellas as possible.  The lead group was able to run to the school, as they were very close at this point, but my poor little group was stuck. We were trying to find shelter under any place possible. Luckily, someone was home in a house along our pathway and opened up the garage for us to take cover in. 

I was the last person in the garage and boy was it crazy! The kids were howling and crying. They were scared, hurt, wet, and badly wanted their parents. I had about 60 kids and a few parents and one other teacher with me, stranded in a garage. We did our best to calm them down, but they were just overwhelmed by what had happened. They kept exclaiming that this was the worst field trip ever! I had to agree with them.

Eventually the storm calmed and I told the kids to just run to the school. We booked it as fast as we could as the students and teachers inside the school watched.

The principal was there waiting for us and not looking too happy. He was mostly concerned about the kids, mind you, but I think he thought we should never have gone in the first place. I would have to agree with him. I had welts from not being under an umbrella during the hailstorm. They were all over my face and arms, and some on my legs even though I was wearing jeans! They lasted for days after the field trip!

Once at the school we pulled out as many blankets and comfort things that we could for the students. I let them take off their socks and shoes and then contacted all of the parents that I possibly could. Some parents brought their kids dry clothes and some chose to take them home.  I felt terrible! By the end of the day, after students had been checked out and early birds had gone home, I had four children left in my classroom.

It had been such a crazy day for them. I ended up letting them build a fort in my classroom and drink some chocolate milk rather than worry too much about getting some learning in. I think they had learned enough for the day. Luckily, the kids were happy again by the next week and most of them saw it as an adventure that they would never forget. The parents were also very gracious, the day of, and continued to be after.  No blame was ever cast around.

No good deed goes unpunished, right? Next year, I think we'll just stick with the play! :) Oh, and I will never trust the Weather app again! ;)

The fort my four leftover students built.

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