Recently I joined my son’s 3rd grade class on a field trip to a farm. It was quite a chaperoning adventure but I got to make some interesting observations. We started off from the school late because we couldn’t fit everyone into the two buses. There may have been more chaperones and less seats than anticipated. During this time the kids were getting louder and more hyper since they were trapped in a bus and not going anywhere. I was surprised to see that many of the girls were pushing and poking each other more than the boys. This was an odd thing to see since in my mind I always think of girls doing more verbal fighting and boys being the more physical ones. Not on this trip! I had to stop a number of girls from hitting each other many more times than I had to scold the boys. I mean no one was hitting in a way that would injure anyone but just enough to annoy.
Then as this was calming down, a BEE flew into the bus and that cause a bit of a stir. It flew around as the kids swatted it away from them and eventually stung a boy. Luckily, he was brave and not allergic so he handled the situation quite well. However, there was another boy sitting next to him who also said he got stung but his story kept changing. At first he claimed it stung his leg but later he said it was his arm. He also refused to let the nurse take a look when we arrived. I realized that this was a ploy for attention. I mean it was a cool story and why should the boy next to him get all the sympathy and glory. It was quite surprising to see this kind of reaction in a 9 year old. I mean he kept the story going the whole time even if it did have inconsistencies.
This trip was on the first day after 4 consecutive days of NJ ASK testing so the teachers warned us that the kids are ready to let loose and listening skills may not be the best. They were right. Though nothing crazy happened (barring another kid getting stung at the farm) it was a tiring day. Trying to keep them all in line and giving their full attention to the farmers was a challenge.
I was also shocked by two girls who refused to be in the same group when the farmers were teaching us how to make salad dressing. They both were adamant that “I can’t work with her”. Really?!? These kind of attitudes and dislikes at such a young age?
I guess I learned a few things on this trip and realized that 9 year olds are not as young and innocent as I thought. They have the ability to manipulate situations to get the attention they crave. The girls can be just as physical in their bickering as the boys. They don’t listen very well when they’ve had to sit still and concentrate for many days in a row. Also, they are already developing opinions on who they will and will not like to deal with. Certain personalities have a very hard time working together. I guess I was naive in thinking any differently or maybe just in denial about my kids growing up. This trip was educational for me as well as the kids but in a different way!