First Year of teaching, Year 3/4 trip to the Grosvernor Museum, Chester. Momma Snooks (see previous blog) was not attending the trip with her class, they had been on a previous day, so I was riding solo (ish) – the other teacher was an RQT and the trip leader – not ideal on reflection.
All was going swimmingly inside the museum and then we went on a walk around the town… (!!!)
A Roman soldier, Mr C, TA (shout out to Mrs Kinder) and Chloe the helper (a trainee teacher friend of Mr C due to complications with parent helpers) and my wonderful class.
It was when the solider asked, ‘Who wants to wear my helmet?’ that the problems began. One member of the class, we shall call him ‘Lively’ for the purpose of anonymity, was so affronted that he was not selected to wear the helmet he decided he would no longer participate and he was going for a walk around Chester… Thank goodness for ‘Team Teach’ positive handling training and a world class teaching assistant we managed to contain Lively, get him off the main road into the amphitheatre and start our ‘solution focused therapy’… You wouldn’t believe the friend of mine decided to be a teacher after attending that trip – nutter!!!
Imperial War Museum, Salford Quays. You can imagine my delight when I found out that I would be taking my class from Year 4 to Year 5 in my second year, Lively was more excited than I was let me assure you.
As part of our WW2 topic we visited the museum. This time my Mum came on the trip with me as my parent helper… much to the amusement of my class and colleagues. I had told her of my trip to Chester as well as the various other stories that I had started to accumulate over my first 18 months in teaching (police dog ate my hamster/firework in exhaust/the list goes on) – she didn’t believe them, or at least she felt I was using poetic license. It was both pleasing and devastating for her to see the truth behind my tales.
Lively was excellent all trip, he stayed by my side, listened carefully and was mostly polite… until we were waiting to get back on the coach and he decided he was going to climb on the WW2 tank that had a huge sign in front of it:
That wasn’t stopping him. My first concern wasn’t for his ignorance of the rules, the sign or my instructions but for his safety. He was after all climbing on top of a rusting WW2 tank at the side of Salford Quays!
When we eventually got him down and on the coach he was a little angry, I’ve never seen a 9 year old with such a great right hook, POW – one to the chin of Mr C, BOOM – one across the face of the learning mentor (glasses bent and skewed). The debrief over a large cup of tea (more than one sugar) with my mum was very interesting indeed.
You might think this young man had lost his trip privileges but no… The next trip Lively went on was well chosen – boxing!! He loved it, he was tired out, behaved brilliantly and joined the gym the next day! It’s just a shame there wasn’t a boxing element on the Chester trip, I can assure you he found a boxing element on the IWM trip!
Needless to say The Year 5& 6 Trip to the French Alps I went on with my current school ran a lot more smoothly than either of the above. It doesn’t change the fact that my favourite pupil of all time is still Lively, the extremely short boy from Oldham with patterns shaved in the side of his head and lines in his eye brows, and a voice similar to Darth Vader, age 9… I often wonder, whilst sitting in my classroom in Cheadle, what Lively is doing right now? Which teacher is he dishing out some ‘banter’ to?!?
The lesson in all this for those starting out on their teaching journey… don’t be deterred. The experiences and challenges that you face make you a better teacher. The impact you can have inchallenging circumstances can often be far greater than working in a leafy school (I’m not saying the job is easier- just different) in the sticks.
What has you’re most/least successful school trip been?