"Did you grab a mat for the kids to eat lunch on?"
"How are we going to carry the lunch boxes?"
"Do we have all the iPads?"
"Are the kids going to ride in kindergarten and first grade pairs on the bus?"
"Has everyone gone to the bathroom?"
On a field trip day, despite all the planning and preparation, getting 4 teachers and our 48 kindergarten and first grade students out the door, and headed toward the bus requires considerable effort. Finally, we are underway.
Moments later, as we get to the front of the school, we see… NO BUS! Panic sets in. We turn to each other.
"Did you turn in the requisition?"
"Yes. Did it not get passed on?"
"Well, did we get a confirmation?"
"I don't know. Check in the office."
"What do we do with the kids while we wait?"
"Let's take them to the playground. They can run around while we sort this out."
We head off toward the playground with all the littles in a crowd behind us. They are eager to do something beside stand around and wait. "Oh no!" my co-teacher at the front of the pack cries out. "The groundskeepers have just turned on the sprinklers!" We turn the group around and we edge back the way we came.
At that moment, word comes that the charter bus company has been called and they are sending a bus our way. It should arrive in 10 minutes. We calculate when we will arrive at the Aquarium and decide to have the children eat their lunches here, rather than in the park outside the Aquarium as planned. We sit them down and pass out the lunches. Three bites later, the charter bus pulls up. "How in the world, did he get here so fast?"
"Oh well, never mind. Let's just get to the Aquarium."
"Close up your lunches, everybody. Hang on to them, but do not eat on the bus!"
Gratefully we file the kids onto the bus. Arranged like eggs in a carton, four dozen, two by two, in rows, front to back, we are on our way. "The parents will be wondering what has happened to us. I bet they are all standing around in a group in front of the Aquarium. I'll call one who can pass the message on that we ARE coming."
"Hi, just letting you know that there was mix-up with the bus, but we are now on our way. We should be there soon."
"Oh, okay. Well, there's been an accident at the corner of Kapahulu and Ala Wai Blvd. and the police are diverting traffic. We all assumed you got caught up in that. If you're not there yet, you should go a different way!"
I head up the aisle to the driver and inform him of the situation. With a groan, and a "Good to know," he makes a quick right turn and takes an alternate route. I settle back in with my colleagues as we huddle to adjust timing and responsibilities.
"Ahh, I see the ocean. We are almost there!" As we make the final approach, we look out the bus window to the section of the park where we had planned to have our picnic.
"You've got to be kidding me!" one of my partners exclaims. "They're trimming the trees!" We note that the grass is full of heavy equipment.
"Oh, well. I guess we'll just have to eat on the other side of the Aquarium."
Suddenly she bursts into laughter. We all burst into laughter. "Can you believe this? We should write a story about today. And we can call it, 'Can we just get to the Aquarium, please?' "
I teach kindergarten at an independent school in Hawaii. The joy of young, curious learners delights me. I'm passionate about my practice, always striving to meet the needs of the children and their families.