Field Trip. I’ve never really thought much about the name before, but it’s actually generally a complete misnomer. Field Trips are generally in locations as far from a field as possible. An art museum, perhaps. An outing to the aquarium. A bus trip to the ballet.
Yet today, I had my first field trip with the 8th graders Southeast Polk Jr. High—and, oddly enough, my first actual field trip in an actual field. We visited the Engelfield Marsh, where our activities consisted of: using nets to search for beetles, frogs and snails in a pond; using GPS to search for objects; canoeing; and chopping down invasive trees. The majority of time was spent knee-deep in mud, thorny weeds or, most frequently, a combination of the two.
It was an experience, that’s for sure.
I haven’t set foot in a Jr. High since, well, the year after I left (2001). So I basically had no idea what I was getting into when I set foot in Southeast Polk. There are 1,000 students—but the school is suited for probably half that. The students are outgrowing the school faster than their boyfriends. Walking in, I was pretty much trampled. And nearly mistaken for a student.
But after a 7:30 stampede, the day went smoothly. The teacher I’ll be doing my practicum with, Mrs. DeBrower, is so sweet and open. The students were taken aback by me initially—probably because my field messy bun and faded blue jeans make me look like a high school newbie—but they warmed up to me really quickly once Mrs. DeBrower introduced me. My name—Ms. Looney—broke the ice.
I have a feeling there are going to be many hilarious happenings to come. Peer pressure, I’m realizing, can actually sometimes be positive. Or at the very least, comical. For example, nearly every single boy today went knee deep into a mucky pond to attempt to catch a frog. One boy, Devon, literally was covered up to the small of his back. The girls were pretty gutsy, too, especially one who said “she hates shopping so much, and could care less what she wore that she purposely wore her best shirt so that she’d have a chance to toss it afterward.” And they say that 8th graders are so concerned with their appearance…
8th graders have some solid street smarts, too. One boy, Chance (yes, he does like his name—I asked…of course), purposely got his shoes as muddy as possible so his mom would buy him a new pair. Genius.
And, wow, 8th graders are as relationship “ready” and “ready” to be independent as ever as ever. Two of my favorite moments of the day came from two girls that I chatted with quite a bit: Kaitlyn and Marley. Two of our conversations:
Me: So do you guys have any big plans for the weekend?
K&M: Yeah, going to Adventureland!
Me: Oh, cool!
K&M: Yeah, we love it there. We go, like, all the time.
Me: What’s your favorite thing to do there?
K&M: Pick up guys.
K&M: I like being young. I wish I could be young forever.
K: Well, actually, I’d like to be 16 and freeze that.
M: I’d be 21.
Me: I like the age that I am.
K&M: Yeah, you can do, like, whatever you want. Your parents can’t tell you what to do.
Me: Well, my parents live 5.5 hours away.
K&M: (Shocked) REALLY? That is AWESOME! You are SO lucky
I literally LOLed. I am eager to see what other angsty—or simply awesome—gems are to come.