Remember last year’s Classe Verte school trip to the circus that I wrote about here, here and here? You know, the trip that culminated in my kids kneeling and standing on the backs of ponies as they circled in a ring under a big top tent? I’m pretty sure you haven’t forgotten because just the concept of taking a bunch of elementary school kids away from home for a week to do circus tricks is the kind of thing that sticks in one’s mind for a really long time.
I wasn’t sure that anything could top the big top, but now I’m not so sure. We found out that this year’s trip is headed to the coast instead of the country. Rather than being called Classe Verte, this year the trip is called Classe de Mer because 60+ kids and four teachers are headed out of town to learn how to surf and sail. It’s a bit of a mindbender, I know.
I could barely handle a group of little French kids once a week and these teachers are taking 3 entire classes out of town for FIVE FULL DAYS. Here’s a link to the place they’re going this year. It’s five hours away from our house. That’s about 4 hours longer than I would consider going with a group of kids that age and size. To me, busses + kids = trouble. I have many memories causing and witnessing mayhem on busses when I was a kid. Although we never went farther than 1.5 hours from our school on a bus, it didn’t stop me from breaking a window with a jawbreaker I was throwing at a very cute boy sitting in the back seat (not sure you knew about that one, Ma). Remember “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall?” Me too, but I wish I didn’t. I can’t wait to hear how these kids manage to entertain themselves on a bus for 5 hours – EACH WAY. I’m sure movies will play a part in the equation, but there’s a limit to how long those will keep them engaged.
Last year I spent some time wondering how my kids would do away from home for a week in a foreign country where they had few language skills and few good friends. This year, I feel like we’re ahead of the curve because:
a) at least I know what the term Classe de Mer means when parents are chatting about it on the playground
b) my kids have many friends now and speak French with the attitude and accent that I envy, and
c) I know that my kids aren’t going to combust away from home for a week.
I’m not sure how the teachers will hold it together however. It may take more than 99 bottles of French wine to make it through that week.
From my perspective, it’s great that there are no parent chaperones allowed on these trips, that way I don’t have to feel bad about not volunteering. And since surfing is on the agenda that week, it only makes sense to say the two words that pop into my mind when I think about the teachers alone for a week with this crowd, “Bummer, dude.”
Guess who was crowned the king last night?