Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Experiences of a Grade 8 Chaperone-Quebec City

As mentioned in the last post, my summer holiday budget was eaten up by the purchase of a new roof. Desperate for a holiday, I’ve offered my services as a chaperone for my son’s grade 8 school trip to Quebec City.


6:35am- My son gives last minute instructions on appropriate parental chaperoning behaviour: Don’t talk to him unless it’s to offer the use of my Visa card, Don’t sit anywhere near him, Don’t relate any childhood stories, Keep my mouth shut if I plan to doze on the bus…heaven forbid that I should drool or something.

6:40am-We arrive at the parking lot. My son grabs his luggage and jumps out of the car before my husband and I can demonstrate any form of affection. After kissing my husband goodbye, I notice four buses lined up, ready for the twelve hour drive. A teacher informs me that there are 200 students on the trip.

7:10am I see it as a good sign that after doing sooooo many of these school trips, the bus drivers and tour guides are still smiling and friendly. The kids name the bus, The Bat Mobile.

10:25am- I’m pleasantly surprised. The 47 fourteen year olds on my bus are really well behaved. I actually manage to enjoy a conversation with the vice principal and to read three trashy magazines

10:30am- We stop for a 20 minute snack and bathroom break. Deciding which fine dining establishment to eat at was a tough choice. McDonald’s is inundated with at least 100 kids. The others disperse to a few of the alternative restaurants.

11:00am- Seven buses are lined up in the parking lot. I’m about to get on one before I notice that none of the students look familiar. I take my place in the bus beside it.

11:10am- Refreshed by our 20 minute break, we hit the road again.

5:55pm- We stop three more times for food and washroom breaks. I enjoy more reading, snoozing (with my mouth firmly shut), and movie watching. I notice a dinging sound coming from the bus dashboard. We are half an hour away from our hotel.

6:00pm- The bus breaks down. We pull over to the side of the highway. Everyone stays calm and the bus driver goes out to check up on the Bat Mobile. I continue to read a few more chapters of my book.

6:30pm- We’re on the road again.

6:55pm- Our hotel is on a hill. We notice the bus moving slower and slower as cars continue to speed past us. I start to question whether we’ll make it to the top or not. The group chants, I think I can, I think I can….

7:00pm- We arrive. I quietly hum The Wheels on the Bus as I go to my room and clean up for supper.

8:00pm- After a buffet meal, my chaperone duties continue at the dance.

9:30pm- The kids all head up to their rooms. Everyone seems to be too pooped to boogie.

So far, so good.

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