Yesterday, I finally was able to help out with Joey's class. There was a field trip to a hands-on science center, the historical museum, and the state capital all scheduled back-to-back. I was torn if I should go on the field trip or not; I love being there with my boys watching them learn new things and connecting what they've learned with things they see at the museums, but I'm trying to step back and allow them some independence. With all the problems Joey has had with his teacher this year I figured it might be easier on Joey if I was there as a buffer. Plus Joey really wanted me to go as this was their first field trip. I arranged for Papa to stay the night so he could get up early and get Jacob off to school, and he also needed to collect Jordan and Jacob from school as our bus was not due back to the school until 5pm.
With Papa staying the night there wasn't much sleep happening the night before. There was some hurt feeling about who's room Papa slept in and everyone woke up way too early just knowing Papa was in the house. Joey and I needed to be at the school and hour early so we dropped Jordan off at school on our way (per his regular drop off time).
Once in the class I was assigned my group that include to high energy boys besides Joey. (I don't know why I always get all the "high energy" kids, guess the teacher figure I'd know how to handle them.) One of my group was home sick that day, which left me with Joey and a boy I knew from when Joey was in cub scouts. I had been expecting one of the school bus style buses, but instead we had a nice cozy travel bus. Shortly after we left the school, we're talking 15-20 minutes, a lovely Michigan style icy/snowy/rainy mix fell full force from the skies. Thankfully the teachers had been prepared for our2+ hour travel time and had movies they played on the bus. The movies didn't help much as 60 kids per bus were excited about the field trip and were noisily chatting amongst themselves. Also there was the added joy of retractable footrests on the back of every chair. These footrests became quiet the headache for the parents on the bus as the kids being 10/11 years old were unable to adjust the footrest only once. They spent the entire ride to in from the capital readjusting the footrests that made the noise of crinkling plastic every time they were moved. After 2 hours on the bus, the teacher in charge of our bus informed us that due to the weather we would not be stopping at the hands-on science center as we still had another hour drive to get there. A lot of the kids were disappointed, honestly so was I. It was a center I had planned taking my boys too and want to get a feel for the place.
Finally we reach our detestation just in time for our 11:30 lunch break. After getting all 100+ kids fed and through the gift shop at the Historical museum, we started our tour. Only we lost our tour guide once we got off the elevator. Supposedly there was suppose to be someone to meet us on the second floor, after waiting a few minutes the teachers gathered their class as lead their own tours.
During our field trip, I quickly was able to see how Joey's classmates intact with him and I wasn't too happy about it. Just about every child hovers around him telling him what not to do. Don't touch that. Stop making noise. You can't stand there. I actually got to the point with one little girl that I asked her if she was his mother, when she answered no, I informed her that I was and would handle Joey. They just didn't let up on the poor kid. He didn't have to even be doing anything wrong and they were correcting him. At almost the end of our time at the Historical museum Joey was on sensory overload and I walked him away from the group so he could regroup. No sooner we turned the corner and 30 kids were squawking that "Joey went up the stairs!" His teacher had even called me to reassure that I was with him. I had the other child in my "group" within my sights the whole time I had Joey away from the group. While the historical museum is a really neat place, there wasn't much the kids were allowed to manipulate and got a bit boring to most of them. (still better than sitting in class all day though).
Once we had seen all there was to see at the museum we were bussed over to our Capital building. Again the kids were not allowed to touch anything and they were all getting restless and having a hard time keeping their hands still. Our time at the Capital passed rather quickly. The guide we had was very good and shared a lot of information, not that I think the kids retained much of it.
Then it was time to get back on the bus to watch movies and crinkle the footrests for another few hours. Over all we spent more time on the buses than we did at the places we were to visit. A total of 6 hours on the bus and 4 hours walking around. We finally reached the school at 6 pm, where the parents found their vehicles encased Michigan's wonderful wintery mix. It was a very long day, but I had been very educational. I learned just as much about our state as I did about why Joey complains so much about disliking school.
While it really bothered me to see how the other students treated Joey, I was so glad I was there as a buffer and to get a better understanding of his feeling towards his classmates and teacher.