Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Teens, Trips & the Rubber Chicken

Ah, it’s the week before Spring Break. Normally, this would be the time that we throw the final pages of our 304-page yearbook together to meet our final deadline and lock in our ship date.

Instead, I will be traveling with nine newspaper kids–let’s count them one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine–to New York City to attend the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s spring convention and collect our school’s first ever national award for its newspaper.

Pretty exciting stuff.

Pretty scary stuff.

Teenagers and trips.

Just the mere thought can make a teacher call the pension office and ask how much it will cost to buy additional years in order to qualify for retirement by tomorrow. When you say “teenagers and trips,” you might as well include the word “terror.” Just like Dorothy wandering through the forest in the Wizard of Oz chanting, “Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my,” substitute an old, fat, bitter teacher blubbering, “teenagers, trips and terror, oh my.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, some of my best memories have involved trips with my students. However, trips are where everything can suddenly spin out of control, things can and will go wrong, and when the dust settles, there you are, the last person standing, and all fingers are pointing at you—and not in a good way either.

You might as well walk out of a bathroom with toilet paper stuck to your shoe. Whatever happens, you will get the blame even though you had about as much ability to intervene as you do at stopping Mount St. Helens from spewing again.

Horror stories across the nation abound. I’ve known teachers who tape the outside of doors to see who busts curfew (Isn’t that sort of like closing the barn doors after all the cows/horses/whatever have run off?). I’m not sure how that all helps.

Veteran teachers check into hotels with specific orders to the hotel staff: “Turn off the phones. Turn off the adult movie channels. Don’t provide room service.” Still, disaster strikes.

We lecture our students. I tell mine: “No sex, drugs, and only a little bit of rock‘n’ roll is permissible. No talking to strangers. No going anywhere with strangers, and just remember, don’t do anything you wouldn’t want God or your Mama to see. That’s the test. If you wouldn’t want God or your Mama to see it, don’t do it.”

Despite the chill down my spine, I think I’m almost ready for the thrill of this trip.

We’ve already decided to bring the rubber chicken. (He’s never been before.) We also decided to photograph our rubber chicken like the elementary kids do with their flat Stanleys.

So you’re probably wondering about those yearbook pages, my page proofs, the new batches of photography projects to grade, and all that important paper work exponentially reproducing on my desk.

Well, as they say in New York, “furgetaboutit.”

I’m leaving the work and taking the chicken. You'll find us on top of the Empire State Building.

You know, I think this little excursion is going to be fun after all.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carol,
Many congrats on your award. I also wanted to thank you for your tip re Peg Tyre's book. I did a piece and blog on it today!
Best wishes,

Margaret English said...

The week before spring break?! You lucky thing! We have another three weeks to go..........

Melissa B. said...

Can't wait to see the Superior Snaps of y'all & the chicken taking in the sights in NYC. You're really a brave woman. I went on this NYC jaunt as a high school journalista, and I'd NEVER take those like me on this trip!

Anonymous said...

Yes, please post the pics of the chicken!