Friday, 24 June 2016

When Trips Go Wrong...

Yesterday we attempted a trip to Tate Britain. I was quite excited as I hadn't been before, and via Twitter, I had got a few tips about what to head for and what to see. However due to the heavy rain and thunderstorms in the early hours on Thursday, the day would take some eventful turns, and not quite turn out how we had planned.

I arrived in school at 6.30am to get some work done before the trip. On arrival, I found my desk flooded. A significant pile of students work (mainly KS3 projects completed with the promise of prizes) had to be binned, as did a few textbooks. I tried to peel them apart to dry them off, but I was left with a paier-mâché ball. I mopped up with the help of the cleaners, left a bucket on my desk and when to find my group.

Unsurprisingly, many were late as roads were closed due to flooding (Romford was hit pretty badly, see <here>). We decided to cancel the first part of the trip (in a park) and leave at 8.15am instead. Boarding the double decker bus parked out of school, little did we know that it would be over 3 hours when we next got off, and that our destination would only be McDonalds in nearby Dagenham!

The A13 was shut, traffic was horrendous, every route we tried, and tried again, was stationary. In the end, we just got off and walked back to the McDonalds that we had passed 4 times already, leaving the bus and driver on a jammed duel carriageway. There was mixed feelings from students, the excitement of free wifi, but fear that their batteries wouldn't last the day. All credit to the staff who were unfazed by 70 students arriving at once.

We decided to try and do something, so phoned the Valence House museum to see if they could accommodate us. They could. For many of the girls, the biggest excitement was the baby frogs, which were literally everywhere on the grass. I learnt some fascinating things, like Gandhi came to Dagenham.

During this trip, I got a phone call from Santander to ask if I had been taking money from a cashpoint in New Delhi during lunch time. I politely pointed out that I had spent 5 hours travelling, but that had only got me Dagenham. My card being cloned and fraudulently used seemingly just another of the days challenges.

We then headed back to school, tired, but filled with comedy stories of the day: getting lost on multiple occasions, taking wrong turns, singing funny songs, holding our bladders, sketching McDonalds instead of the Tate's artwork...

I'm not a fan of those KEEP CALM signs, but that what we have to do as teachers... whatever is thrown at us, we make the best of. I had a great day, so did the students (one was overheard, "BEST TRIP EVER! We just went to McDonalds!"). Everyone went home smiling with fond memories, I also made a storify... hopefully it was some kind of antidote to other stories in the news.

This is why I love the job: it can be crazy, totally unpredictable and you often get to laugh. Lots.

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