25 January 2010

School Excursion

"So far in life I had gone without seeing Miley Cyrus. In truth I was mentally scarred by her fathers' musical legacy...come on London 2012, drop synchronised swimming for whip cracking!"

A couple of months ago I had the privilege of escorting my youngest daughter and her school class on an excursion to the City Zoo in Sydney's west. I was eager to go as I had missed out on my eldest daughters' excursion to the same place the previous year.

Two weeks prior to this I had received a letter asking for parent volunteers to accompany the teachers on the excursion. As places were limited it was on a first come,first served basis. Naturally I filled in the attached form and had it back with the relevant teacher before you could say "Wooloomooloo"!

I had an agonising seven days wait before I received the news that I wanted to hear. I had been accepted as a parent volunteer! I was very excited.

On the day of the excursion we got to the school early. I had packed myself a lunch too as it was going to be a longish day. My daughters' teacher came up and gave me a badge. She advised me to wear it as it would identify me as being associated with the school. The badge has "staff member" written on it as well as the name of the school. I quickly put it on.

I was now technically a teacher! I actually felt like one too.

We set off to the City Zoo in a plush air-conditioned bus. The driver put on a DVD. It was Hannah Montana. Now so far I had gone through life without having seen Miley Cyrus. In truth I was mentally scarred from her fathers musical legacy. The song that, in my opinion, is the worst one of all time - "achy breaky heart". Not only was it woeful but it was sung by a person whose first name is "Billy-Ray" and he had the worst mullet haircut of all time!

So I was not expecting much from the younger Cyrus but I have to admit that I was truly impressed. The movie (whatever it was called) was really quite good. Apparently her father was in the movie too but I didn't spot any mullets thankfully.

We arrived at the zoo a little later than anticipated as the driver lost his bearings. All of a sudden Canberra was looming closer. Obviously he wasn't using a GPS!!

At the zoo we made our way to the designated spot and all sat down and had our little lunch (aka fruit predominantly). For the record I ate grapes and a banana. Most of the children were well behaved but there were a few who were hyper. However the teachers and us pseudo teachers did a great job in keeping all the children in one place - even though it was an effort!

We then saw lots of baby animals - cows, pigs, sheep, chicks etc. The children designated to me were well behaved, which was fortunate. Luckily I didn't have Little Johnny (name changed to protect the innocent) who was continuously trying to find ways to break through our ranks and into the wild blue yonder.

Two of the highlights were cow miking (some children liked this and some didn't), and the whip cracking show. This was a truly grand exhibition and should be an Olympic sport. Come on London 2012, drop synchronised swimming for whip cracking!

Lunch (aka big lunch) was a tame affair as all the children ravenously devoured their lunch. To my astonishment Little Johnny too was behaving well. Either that or he was scheming a plan to escape from our group.

After lunch we looked at a few more animals including the sheep corralling into a pen with a drover and his dog. It was very impressive. At times you felt sorry for the sheep but they all fell into line quite nicely.

After 4 hours we bade our farewells to the City Zoo and made our way back to our bus. Once on board an anxious head count was held and then re-done. Everyone was on the bus including Little Johnny. The teachers let out a sigh of relief and secretly did "high fives". Our driver put on the Hannah Montana DVD again. Fortunately I got to watch a little bit more of it as a number of children quickly fell asleep on the bus.

We arrived back at the school just prior to final bell. My day as a "teacher" had been a good one. However, my illusion was soon shattered as I had to hand the staff member badge back. I was now just another parent!

This blog is dedicated to teachers everywhere. I am amazed at your calmness when on an excursion as well as remembering all the children's names. How do you remain sane? I also dedicate this to my good friend Nes who is, as you may have guessed, a teacher as well.