I remember the day I announced the surprise location of our field trip. "We're going to San Francisco," I said. A hush fell over my students and instant smiles appeared.
I lay in my bed last night wondering what this day would be like. My mind raced in anticipation, half excited, half nervous! Field trips are fun, but there are always hiccups. I racked my brain hoping I didn't forget anything, and praying it'd be a safe and stress-free trip.
And, my, it was!
The memories from this trip are priceless. From one student shouting to me across the bus, "Miss Friedrich, this is AWESOME!" before we'd even gotten through Fairfield, to another pointing out cows on the hillside, this trip was simply magical.
The moment I anticipated most was the travel across the Bay Bridge because I figured most of these kids had never seen the Golden Gate Bridge from afar. Little did I know, on the way back, we'd actually get to travel across the bridge! I got goosebumps as they pulled out their cameras to capture every last picture they could before we departed into the tunnel. In addition, to the Golden Gate, they were mesmerized by Alcatraz, Treasure Island, and the cargo loading docks. "Do they still have sharks surrounding Alcatraz?" "Why do they call it Treasure Island?"
The day was spent "exploring" the Exploratorium. The first half hour felt like a blur of jumping to one exhibit to the next, but as we got settled the kids started to really explore and enjoy the science behind each exhibit. I cannot rightfully describe to you the kids faces and joy as they bounced around the museum. Truly, this day was all kinds of "AWESOME" as my student had declared hours ago on the bus.
(I wish I could put more photos! Legally I can't put close ups publicly. Since these are far away or don't show faces, I can post them.)
I was lucky to share this day with two other special people besides my 30 students. My parents. Since I my graduation from the credential program, my parents have made it clear that they wanted to be a part of any special trips with my class. When they heard of this planned adventure, they generously donated to our trip AND volunteered to be chaperones! I spent most of the day with their group of kiddos, and relished in watching my students share this day with them. "Mrs. Friedrich, I know how this works! I know how this works!" As I reflected on the bus ride back, I was reminded of how lucky I was/am to have such great parents and how some of my students aren't as lucky. It gave me comfort that they were able to share this day with Mr. and Mrs. Friedrich, chaperones who willingly followed them from place to place and listened to every revelation with a kind and genuine smile. My proudest moment from the day was when a girl on the bus to me said, "Ms. Friedrich, your dad is SMART!" after hearing him rattle off facts and dates about Alcatraz.
Again I sit here reminding myself how much I love teaching. It's days like these that trump all the 10 hour days, long hours grading, or even the grumpy parent here and there. I am so lucky to share these impressionable years with my students and be there for all the "ah-ha moments" they are experiencing.
~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-I never thought I'd be able to provide my students a field trip like today. Thanks to the generosity of so many people, we were able to raise over $3,000 to make this day a reality. I know, without a doubt in my mind, that this will be the highlight of the school year, and perhaps for some "The Best Field Trip Ever!"