Just got back last night from 4 days, 24/7, with 125 eighth graders in Washington DC. It’s actually a wonderful closure to their middle school years. In the 7th and 8th grades they have studied American History and government, specifically focusing on the Constitution in the 8th. Many of the monuments and memorials we visited connected with the facets, concepts, and personalities of much of what they have studied.
Needless to say, the days and nights were very long (which is why I was unable to post anything) and the energy, of course, very high. We did all the touristy things like museums in the mall, the FDR memorial, World War II memorial, Monticello, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, the Korean, Vietnam, and Lincoln Memorials. The Library of Congress and the Supreme Court. We went to Arlington Cemetary and laid a wreath at the section where the most recent burials of american soldiers have taken place. We even explored caverns (the 8th grade studies geology). Each day we were on the go from 7:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night.
One wonders what the students will remember. The creative, humble, and scholarly ambience at Monticello? The Vermeers and Gaugins at the National Gallery? The power of the World War II memorial at night? The way some of them cried at the Pentagon Memorial? The poignant objects left at the foot of the Vietnam memorial? Or more likely the drama between friends–friendships that temporarily fell apart, new ones formed? Jokes told over the microphone on the bus? Staying up most of the night in hotel rooms with peers?
Or maybe it will be the walk from dinner at Carmines, on our way to the Spy Museum, when two women, quite inebriated, passed us walking (and weaving) in the same direction as we were. One was very thin, lightly clad, and wearing a sombrero, gesturing with a filled and oversized margarita glass which was splashing all over herself and the street. When she saw me she screamed, “I LOVE YOUR MULLET.” Twice. The students were laughing hysterically. She handed her mardi gras beads labeled with a Sauza Tequila medallion to GT making a few inappropriate comments, then paraded, danced, and splashed down the street with her friend in tow.
For the next few days, the students playfully teased. HB offered, “Business in the front, party in the back, Ms.Y.” At the end of the trip, as I shook each kid’s hand to say goodbye, SR said, “Hey, Ms. Y, did I ever tell you how much I love your mullet?”
“I think you have. Maybe a dozen times since the Spy Museum.”
“Well, good, because you rock!”
Ah, I love my job.