Wednesday, February 24, 2010

President vs Chaperone

(Photo should be here. It isn't. See observation #3 below!)

At the beginning of the school year, I decided that while I was the PTA president this year, I would not to do any volunteering in Megan, Luke or Ellie's classrooms or go on any field trips with them. Except... In a way that only another mother would know, I began to feel a little bit guilty about that decision... The "How come you don't help at our Valentines/Halloween party?" or "Why do you never listen to the kids in my class read?" questions finally got the better of me.

So, when Megan's 5th grade teacher recently sent out an email asking for parent volunteers to accompany the 5th grade to the Utah Symphony, I readily replied. I shocked even myself at my eagerness, as I am easily bored at orchestras, or any non-singing musical performances.
(I should NEVER have just admitted that publicly, all of my in-laws will be appalled!)

But guess what?
I quite enjoyed it.

Well, it helped that;
a. It was geared to 400+ 5th graders,
b. Some of the music I was familiar with, and
c. One of the pieces we were asked to sing along with, 'America, The Beautiful.'

So besides the musical part of the field trip, here are a few thoughts/observations I had/made while spending almost three hours with 5th graders.

1. The box hanging up at the front of the school bus that says, "Bodily Fluid Clean Up Kit" caused my imagination to run wild much more than I would have liked.

2. When the kids start playing the "whisper, whisper, 'Pass It Along'" game during the performance and it gets to me and I hear, "Megan ____ is hot." I realize, I'm not the only person in the crowd that gets slightly bored at orchestras.

3. I am going to purchase a camera to keep solely in my purse. I am tired of getting caught unaware without a camera!

4. I realize I could never work with young children for hours on end, day after day. In just three hours today I saw enough noses picked, and smelled enough stinky things to not be in a hurry to either return to the field trip volunteer sign-up list or ever get a teaching degree.

5. When I pulled out the bag of treats after the performance, to share with the six kids in my group today, I realized I have matured from the days of sneaking homemade warm brownies into the Salt Lake Tabernacle while on a date in 1994 to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. (The warm brownie aroma filled the air very suddenly and a lot of heads turned.)

6. The children were instructed to wear their nice clothes today. Megan had her outfit carefully planned, and though I questioned it's practicality several times due to the outside temperature, I realized the reason why, this morning when she was searching frantically for her brown sandals.

"Ooohhhh," I said knowingly, "You picked that dress because you wanted to wear those particular shoes, huh?"

Megan very timidly replied, "Yes." Later, when we stood outside in the cold and then had to run half a block to the bus.... At least her shoes were... CUTE!

7. Upon leaving our seats, the teacher instructed me,

"Follow where the crowd is going to get back to the bus."

I. Followed. Her. Instructions.
(Another group from our school followed me.)

(We stood outside in the cold waiting for the bus, watching the kids do 5th grade things (such as a boy taking a treat to the other boy who started the " "Megan S____ is hot" game and said, "This is from Megan." Or watching the 5th grade boys annoy passer-bys, etc.)

After a while, I realized the buses were taking an awfully long time, and not only that, there was suddenly no one else around us... And thus began our half-a-block run down the street to the buses, where we were promptly greeted with,

"Where were you?"

I felt like I was in 5th grade all over again, worried I would get in trouble as I explained to the teacher, "I was told to follow the crowd. I did. It just ended up being the wrong crowd."

So, yes. I, yes, me. Yours Truly, is the one to blame for the buses returning to the school slightly later than planned.

With all these observations. I learned two things.

1. Remember what I've always been taught; don't do anything, just to follow the crowd.
2. I'll stick with being the PTA president this year; I don't do so well as a field trip chaperone!


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