Today my students got their wish.
Nearly 120 fourth and fifth grade students, at least two dozen parents, and five teachers piled into three funky old buses that bounced happily down the road to San Francisco.
Before even exiting our bus, one student exclaimed, “This is the best field trip I have ever been on!”
The initial view of the city was just as exciting as I hoped. The students were giddy as they spotted the skyline, the Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz. They anxiously held their breath through the tunnel on Treasure Island, carefully making their wishes at the other end. However, to my surprise, it was not just the city that excited them– it was the cows on the hillside before that, the coastal mountain range itself, (“Are those as tall as the Himalayas?”), and the glee of waving to other school children on passing busses out the window.
Of course, the Exploratorium earned its own acclaim. Beginning with lunch outside the Palace of Fine Arts, eager children fed the ducks, the swans, and the pigeons in the perfect San Francisco March sunshine. The exhibits soon followed, sucking them in with the truly magical promise that they would not get in trouble for touching anything. My personal favorite was the rather low-brow, toliet-shaped drinking fountain. While I could not bring myself to drink from it, (despite the promises of drinkability), I delighted in watching the students psyche themselves into it.
Oddly, however, it was the bus ride home that left me the most satisfied. Despite an earlier response that we would not cross the Golden Gate Bridge, the bus driver announced a change in plans upon our departure. To the sheer delight of the students on my bus, we did cross the Golden Gate Bridge, and it was magical.
“For those of you that have never seen the ocean,” the bus driver called out proudly, “turn and look out on your left.”
Cameras held out excitedly in the air, many of my students took in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean for the first time. I wanted to cry, but I smiled instead. Floating across the bridge on a crazy, bouncy bus full of happy children, I remembered why I decided to become a teacher.
|My infamous happy, sparkly shoes, (key ingredients for any good day!)|
|More of the cool lighting|
|Close-ups of plants because I can’t legally show you close-ups of the children…|
|“We really get to go over the Golden Gate Bridge?!”|
|Our own magic school bus!|
|Happy kids, (Note: This picture is not a close-up, so I think that I can get away with posting it! Yippee!)
|End Result: Two very happy teachers! (Really, five… But we were lame and didn’t get a group teacher photo… Insert sad face… That last part is for you, Regina!)|