North Fork Environmental Center Field Trip 2019...Let the good times roll…..or crash as the case may be.
Wednesday was field trip day. Grace called me early and told me the University of Utah was closed for the day; officials were concerned for student safety due to white-out, blizzard conditions on campus. Foreboding but not forbidding….. Fortuitously skies in northern Utah remained overcast but clear. We were good to go and we went.
Most of us went, that is….. I’ve been talking up our Environmental Center cross country skiing/snowshoeing field trip since almost the first day of school. In years past it has been one of the students’ favorites. This year about a third of my students chose to stay in school rather than adventure with me. For the first time ever, I had to have a sub to babysit the students who stayed behind. For the first time in my teaching career, I assigned a packet. In science that day the non-adventures had to fill out a six page, single-spaced, text-based worksheet. Humph.
The two thirds who did go had a great time. They spent a lot of time stuck in snow banks, I spent a lot of time pulling them out of snowbanks. When one knows how to leverage center of gravity and take advantage of friction (or lack thereof…), one can appear much stronger than one actually is. After the third time I pulled Jason back onto the trail he said, “Mrs. Hislop has Hulk strength!” [Apparently “Hulk” is now the cultural adjective for strength, replacing “Amazon” and “Herculean”.]
Every year I fall more in love with my students when I take them to the mountains. There are those who are naturally graceful on skiis and those who naturally NOT so graceful on skis. Darling Amber…. She probably fell 15 times in the first 500 feet...but she lumbered back on her feet every time she fell. “This is the hardest thing I have ever done,” she told me. She struggled but she never quit. Love it!
Zander fell so many times that his black clothing appeared white. Globs of snow weighed his sweatpants down so much he was in danger of losing them. After he tried unsuccessfully several times to pull them up, I grabbed the waistband from behind and pulled them up for him, an action I hope was NOT caught on video.
The bus driver was awesome too. He told me he HAD TO drop us off at Ogden Preparatory Academy at 2:20 in order to make it on time to his high school bus route. When we pulled into the OPA parking lot at 2:41 he was still smiling pleasantly. “Thanks for being so congenial,” I told him. When he asked me what “congenial” meant I was tempted to tell him “It means I made you 21 minutes late and you are not yelling at me about it”....
The field trip was a fabulous success but the greatest success happened in my classroom while I was gone.
When I am absent, I promise the students that, if they treat the substitute poorly I will not take them on the next field trip. Earlier in the year, Eric was identified by a sub as a trouble maker. Eric is a troubled kid who has made lots (LOTS) of progress but a promise is a promise so I could not take him on the trip.
About a week before we left he approached me anxiously and asked, “Is there anything, ANYTHING, I can do to earn back the field trip?”
“Oh Eric,” I told him, “You are killing me. I want to take you on the trip so, SO much. But I cannot. I just cannot. I promised that I would not and I have to keep my promises.”
Eric was the only one, THE ONLY ONE, of all my students (including the honors classes) to finish the six page, single-spaced, text-based worksheet while I was gone.
You can be Eric will be going with me on my next field trip!