Thursday, April 6, 2006

Field trip yesterday

Went on a field trip with my daughter's class to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum yesterday. It turned out to be a much COLDER day than any of us expected!

I had long wanted to see the Holocaust museum,and was looking forward to sharing the experience with my daughter. Instead, I shared it with two boys who kept trying to ditch the rest of the group. The museum likes to have a 1:7 ratio of adults to kids...we had so many chaperones that the group I was in had a 3:7 ratio. And there were two boys who had obviously gotten attached to our group just to round the numbers out....so they did the museum tour in under an hour.

Since our guide said that over 10,000 people would be visiting the museum yesterday, I felt one of us chaperones needed to keep tabs on the boys.....way to easy for them to be lost. And I've got that old 'responsibility' thing engrained in my makeup, so I felt like since I had volunteered as a chaperone, I needed to chaperone. It was pretty frustrating though....these boys obviously cared nothing for the whole idea, and were just intent on getting done as soon as possible.And the selfish part of me was a little irked that on what was probably the last field trip with my daughter, I was spending it chasing two complete strangers through a museum I'd always wanted to see , at a pace that meant I was seeing pretty much nothing but a blur.

If you'd like to see more about the museum, here's a link 

 
you may see more than I did yesterday!
 
I did manage to catch the boy's attention a few times and direct it to a few exhibits that they slowed down long enough to look at. One of the things that stands out was a defaced door from an actual synagogue, that was defaced on 'Kristillnacht'......why they went to look at it when I pointed it out, I don't know!lol....but they did at least stop.And since we got done 40 minutes before the rest of the group, I kept directing us into other exhibits....so they did both sit down on the interactive computer stations and seemed actually to be paying attention, while I watched a short film. They were also supposed to be filling out little booklets at the end of each floor, to turn in after the tour to their teachers. I asked them after two floors if they were filling anything out, and they said 'no'....me being a great believer in you need to accept responsibility for your actions, I just thought 'oh,well' and shrugged same as they did.:)
 
My daughter said that she got a little upset at the short films about the medical experiments...another exhibit I saw out of the corner of my eye as we did the 100 yard dash. I'll have to go back some day again....there was none of the feeling of reverence or thoughtfulness that I was expecting to feel while going thru the museum, probably due to our accelerated pace.
After lunch, we spent time at the FDR memorial....a large part of the questions in their booklets needed to be filled out there. Then we walked around to the Korean War memorial, past the Lincoln memorial, and over to the Vietnam memorial.
 
I spoke sharply to two other boys in the group there, who just would not quiet down. If you've ever been to the Vietnam memorial, you start down a slope past all the names on the Wall, and there is usually a corresponding 'hush' as you begin viewing the names. I realize these were middle school boys....but after twice nicely asking them to be quiet, I leaned over and said to them (in 'that voice' as my daughter puts it, which I believe is my 'you need to cut the crap out right now' voice,lol)"if you can not show any respect for this memorial to all these people who gave their lives, and to the other people who are trying to view it....you need to turn around right NOW and walk back up and go AROUND the walkway on the OUTSIDE so that you are not disturbing others ."My daughter says that voice pretty much scares her and her friends  Imageand it shut those boys up after that. (in fact, the rest of the day whenever they saw me, I heard them saying 'oh,no, there's that lady again'!)One of the teachers later thanked me, they said some of the chaperones are afraid to speak up and I just laughed and said 'well, I have no problem insisting that they have some respect!"
 
The last place we went was the old U.S.Postal building, to eat dinner before leaving. We had Chinese, and then rode the glass indoor elevator up to view the tower, which was cool....but I also discovered I had never been on a glass elevator before and it's scary as heck! Here's a link about that.  
 
All in all, it was a gorgeous day, although chilly, and the sun was shining and the cherry trees looked beautiful. Although my tour at the Holocaust museum didn't go like I planned, I enjoyed the day overall and enjoyed the time spent with these kids and my daughter. I also have the highest respect for middle school teachers!Image
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