This past month, I was conned into taking my whole homeroom to an amusement park in Taiwan. Okay, I guess it would be fair to say the kids strongly suggested how much they would pretty please love to go on a class field trip and I am a pushover and they know it so I said yes.
I am not too far gone.
I did say no to the idea of an overnighter.
As an American with an American perspective, I was worried about all kinds of things. Sure, I had taken kids on field trips in the states but they were academic. To a museum. And for every five kids, there was at least one adult chaperon. And the trips were always on school days.
So when I went to the admin office at my school wanting to suggest that I, just I, take 30 kids to an amusement park on a Saturday just for the hell of it, I was prepared to be shot down.
But, all I had to do was say "Can I take the kids to Leofoo Village..." and the answer was: of course.
I teach 8th grade so that means my kids are 13-14 years old.
There are 30 of them.
And one of me.
Trust me, after I got the go ahead from the office, I started to have doubts.
I worried about whether they would be responsible enough to go with just me.
I worried about taking them someplace I had never been in a foreign country that uses a language I do not understand.
I worried about safety and all of the things teachers worry about when it comes to their kids.
But all those worries were for naught.
The field trip day arrived and I gave them my schpeel, which basically reaffirmed everything they had come to learn about me in our eight months together: if I tell them to be somewhere at noon and they are not there by 12:02, I will be convinced a snake killed them or a plane fell out of the sky and landed on them or they were gravely injured while waiting in line for a ride.
So, in good faith, I let them scurry their separate ways at the park and was forced to endure horrifying ride after horrifying ride, most of which went really, really fast and turned me upside down multiple times, while my students giggled themselves silly and I screamed until my voice became raw.
I think it was their form of payback for the 10 essays I made them write this past year and especially for the three speeches I made them give.
But, truth be told, I had an absolute blast with my kids.
Was the language barrier an issue?
A little bit.
But one of my students helped me find and order a cup of coffee so all was right in my world.
Was it a little intimidating to be in charge of 30 kids in a completely chaotic and unfamiliar place?
A little bit.
But you know what?
Every single kid was on time or even early for every attendance check in and we had a great day together.
I really love my job.