What was my schooling like compared to today? I don’t remember a whole lot about elementary school: a teacher who made me move to the front row because I was the postal station for the boys on all sides of me and got caught passing their notes – an assembly where we marched in to a huge theater like place to music and then marched out – or about when I moved to a Quaker school and recall Quaker meetings where there was no music. We did perform Die Meistersingers rewritten for grade 6 by the music teacher.
Today we went out to lunch and passed a middle school where a group of students were working on a garden with a covered structure for growing things. We saw a parade of kids walking down the street… they could have been headed to a museum. I doubt they were out for a lunch time stroll. We saw another group of kids returning from a boat trip out in the bay. Wonderful!
I taught with a teacher who would take his class on field trips just before vacation times. I thought he was nuts until he told me why. The kids are crazy waiting for vacation, why not get them out and doing something they will like. I followed his example after that when I could.
He took them to the grocery store and I did that as well, walking across the street and exploring the aisles with a list of treasures to discover, and, of course, the bakery where they were all given a cookie.
Over the years I recall a trip across the school yard where we counted dandilions and put them in piles of ten. In Florida we went to a museum where we had to rush the 3rd grade boys through a certain art exhibit which was hardly the kind of art we had planned to see. I took a first grade trip to a museum where the docent asked the class what the local Indians used for a tooth brush and the entire class chimed in “camel’s hair tooth brushes”. They had listened well to the Bible stories they heard at chapel once a week where Noah and Abraham and others woke up every morning, put on their Reeboks and brushed their teeth with camels hair tooth brushes before going about their task of the day
Why do I think of this today… because the trips out of school, the occasions that were not the routine, those are what I remember, and I suspect that is what the kids remember as well. Keep those field trips going, even across the street or around the corner. The kids will remember