Thursday, February 12, 2009

Field Trips, Good and Bad

Last week I took my second and third graders on a wonderful trip to the Met to see the Egyptian art (we had just gotten our Flat Stanley back from Egypt a few weeks prior and were all pumped to learn more about mummies, tombs, and hieroglyphics). Julie came along to help chaperone and she was a wonderful help. The kids were super impressed at the beauty and scale of the museum and they loved seeing the mummies, coffins, and especially the reflecting pool around the Temple of Dendur. Many of them have told me they want to go back and are even pressuring their parents to take them back over Mid-Winter Break next week with the free family passes the museum gave us. Highly successful trip, if I do say so myself.

Today all of the third grade classes took a trip to Toys'R'Us and McDonalds (in Times Square). Yes, that is right. They went to look at toys and eat Happy Meals. I talked to my students who attended the trip and they said that the teachers told them nothing about Times Square except to point out the NYE ball. (All of these kids said they had already been to Times Square with their families anyway, so it's not even like the trip was exposing them to a part of the city they wouldn't normally get to see.) I was so outraged at this pointless trip. There are so many wonderful (and FREE) places to take students in this city that are also educational! How trips like this get approved by our administration is beyond me.


J said...

DUDE. Seriously?! that is the stupidest field trip I've ever heard of! Maybe I really should hire myself out as a field trip coordinator to actual educational establishments. :) Thanks again for having me--I had a great time and let me know if I can ever help out again!

The Bus Driver said...

As a bus driver, i take alot of "stupid" field trips.

For instance.. in 2 weeks, i get to go to the movie theater. yep, the movie theater in town. whee.

HappyChyck said...

What J said--SERIOUSLY? What kind of teacher would want to even manage the students on that kind of field trip? Madness!

(And a waste of time, energy, and money!)

Pogue said...

Sometimes, when more than one student asks me for a pen, I announce to the class that we'll soon be going on a class trip. They excitedly ask, "Where to?" I reply, "Staples, aisle three, so some of you can buy some pens and pencils."

Anonymous said...

Ok, I don't take 3rd graders to these places because I teach high school, but I do about 19 fieldtrips a year and a few of them are to commercial retail venues.

I teach marketing so anything is a teachable moment. We look at professional ball parks, local printers, department stores, museums, distribution centers, aquariums, shopping centers, the zoo, and even the wastewater plant. My students are prepared ahead of time, they professionally dress for the trips, and they have to do followup work when they return.

So, as for ToysRUs and McDonalds? Yep, I could turn it into an educational trip.

Anonymous said...

where was administration?. How dare they approve this sort of trip. Exactly the reason why I don't send my kid to a NYC school.

Anonymous said...

Every year, my AAUW chapter works together with the theater department on my campus to produce a "children's play." The ticket price is low (after a lot of arguing, we raised it to $2 this year) and raises money for scholarships we give out.

We encourage local schools to come. We get a lot of the rural schools in my area - some of them from 45 minutes or an hour away.

But a couple of the LOCAL schools - like right in town - never bother to bring their kids. We get various excuses, ranging from complaints about the cost of the trip to other things.

But yet, this local district takes all the kids to see whatever silly kids' movie is playing (one year it was the Rugrats movie) at the local movie house. (No, I do not think the kids get in free).

Sometimes I think those "field trips" are "teacher wants a day off from teaching."

Oh, yeah, I'm sure movies can be a "teachable moment" but the Rugrats? Seriously?

dkzody said...

Wait just a doggone minute, "teacher wants a day off from teaching..." That line makes me furious. Do you have any idea how much work goes into a fieldtrip? I would much rather stay in my comfy classroom with all the kids contained within than to plan and execute a fieldtrip, especially a day-long trip out of town. It is hard work just to get the kids ready, and then to make sure everything comes off without a hitch is a tough job. Or, at least it is with my inner city kids who never have gone anywhere except a 6 block radius from their ghetto neighborhood.

Every now and then we have to cancel one of the fieldtrips and I breath a sigh of relief. I am NOT doing these trips for ME, but rather to broaden the horizons of my students. And, if you think it's a walk in the park, come on over and take care of the next one. We are taking the juniors to Grizzly Stadium to see the behind the scenes (no ballgame) and then stopping at a small printing company that does work for sports teams. I would be delighted to let someone else monitor the kids dress, behavior, and all the paperwork that goes into these trips.

KauaiMark said...

"...we'll soon be going on a class trip. They excitedly ask, "Where to?" I reply, "Staples, aisle three, so some of you can buy some pens and pencils.--Pogue"

Best blogger comment response -- EVER!

I think I'll steal that line the next time I'm in class

Ms. M said...

dkzody--I had your exact same reaction. Field trips are hard work! I always come back feeling exhausted! The day we went was "bitterly cold" according to the newscasters that morning and I woke up wishing we could all stay safe and warm in the classroom (luckily it all went smoothly and was worth it). Definitely not a "day off from teaching" though. Also, I'm sure that you could make a trip to Toys R Us and McDonalds educational, but I can assure you that that was not the case with this particular field trip.

Pogue--Awesome response to no pencils.

Miss G said...

Hey - this is totally unrelated, but do you have any suggestions for good ELL curriculum? We're ordering for next year and I want to make sure we get things that are good for both classroom teachers to use and for pull out teachers. (Grades K-4, but mostly K,1 - most of our kids don't qualify for services past that).

Anonymous said...

Are you serious we want a day off!!! That's the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard. I absolutely hate field trips, but I know if I don't take my students most of them will never set foot in museums, the zoo, botanical garden, etc.
They are exhausting to plan, get ready for, and then to make sure you keep 20-something kids safe. And don't even get me started on the parents that chaperone for the trips, sometimes they are worse than the children, but then again it helps explain why their kids are the way they are.
Then to top it off! I lose my lunch and prep for the day!!!
Yeah, that's why I take field trips, because its such a breeze.
Clearly you are clueless!!!

Anonymous said...

You completely missed the point. Trips to the movies are "day off" trips. Trips are a ton of work and exhauting by the end of the day but when you go with a team of teachers and one teacher plans a movie trip and the others encourage an educationally unfulfilling trip, I am sorry but those teachers wanted a day off.

Anonymous said...

i think the whole toys r us thing is really stupid ... dont take them if its not educational !