Sunday, October 25, 2009

That was a great holiday.

I’ve been on a school trip this week.

Even though I never went on a school trip abroad when I was in school, I really believe this is a fantastic learning experience for kids, and that all of them get something from the trip, no matter how well travelled they are. And I think their teachers get to see them in a different light, away from the classroom and the pressure of getting through the curriculum.

The children who I teach have special needs- I won’t go into the exact nature of the “special” here. So all of what I said above applies even more to them. Here are just a few of the areas of growth that I see from a trip abroad- Geography, Science, History, Culture, Money Management and Currency, Social Skills, Timekeeping, Negotiation, Team Work, Patience, Adventure, Independence... Basically, I suppose I’m saying that travel broadens the mind. I’d be delighted if anyone wants to add to this list.
This is also true for the teachers, and again it applies even if they are well-travelled.

But I really feel today that I might never go on another one. When we arrived back in Dublin at 11.00 at night, having been away for 4 days, having had a 4.00am start on the day of departure, having taken charge of these children 24 hours a day for all of that time, some of the parents were late to collect, and NOT ONE of them said “thank you” for the trip. Honestly, they just took their child’s hand in one hand, their suitcase in the other, and sailed off! The children were lovely, really appreciated everything that we did for them, but where are those parents coming from? Did they think that we had a free holiday?Or that eating every meal with many interruptions of “I need xxx” was dining out? Did they think that negotiating for 2 hours to prevent some of those kids from beating each other up was a fun way to spend a night? Did they think that leaving our own families behind for that time was fun? Did they not think we were dying to get back to them? And that standing around at the airport for an extra hour was just too much?

The same has happened on every trip I've gone on, over many years, with just an odd exceptional parent who says "thanks". It's not that you expect any big deal, just a plain and simple "thanks" would be perfect. And even though you're doing it for the kids, not the parents, a bit of manners wouldn't go to loss.

The mind boggles!


  1. I am quite amazed that parents today do not seem to think there is a need to say please or thank you nor do they seem to think of teaching their children either. I come across it all the time (though not all are like that.) I expect they thought it was all part of your job. LOL!

    I worked in a special school for years and the children were lovely but not easy.Now I work with able bodied children (still not easy.) However, I have never taken any children on any trip that lasted longer than one day!

    Hope you get some well earned rest now.

    Nuts in May

  2. You're probably right that some parents think that you get a free trip. But, clearly it's not just the Dublin parents. I used to have to wait with Brownies for someone to pick them up when I would much rather have been home with my supper. At least in the daycare, we could fine the parents who did that to us.
    I'm glad you had a wonderful learning adventure with the kids, though. Kids make almost everything bearable.
    Nice to see you back here.

  3. OH! Mimi! That's awful!

    Here I am.

    "THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!" I'll say it for them.

  4. Thanks for those lovely comments.
    After I hit the Publish button, I felt maybe I was moaning, and what difference does it make?
    But now I feel much better about it.
    Maggie May- getting the rest, big time, it's a bank holiday here today!
    Stephanie- I think the fine is a great idea, cos if you happen to be genuinely late once in a blue moon, you won't mind paying.
    Suzyhaze- you're so sweet.Thanks for saying it for them.

  5. Well, Mimi, if someone was kind enough to take my kids off my hands and take care of them for a couple of days, I'd never be done thanking them. It is really awful that they behaved in such a bad way, and I can't believe it!

  6. Mimi, on Saturday I attended a YAI/NYAI luncheon. YAI/NYAI are organizations for children with special needs in New York. My grand-nephew, Jarome, has special needs and he has come along (he's 4) so well. We are so grateful to all his teachers and service providers. Bless you for the good work you do! :)

  7. Amen!
    In my last teaching position I taught computers to K-5.Other teachers brought their classes to me. One class of special needs children was handled by a wonderful man who never failed to say thank you for my time. I'll never forget him.
    It takes someone special like you to see past their "specialness" and give freely of your time to them, for them. You are blessed. The children will remember even if the parents don't.