Today was a day of wrapping up topics before I head to DC tomorrow morning with the 8th grade field trip.
For 3 days, I will walk around our nation's capitol with 30 8th graders, showing them historical and cultural landmarks, telling stories about history, war, peace, science, math and government. We will visit museums, the capitol building, the white house, the Kennedy center, Arlington Cemetery, Old Alexandia, and at least one McDonald's.
This is the fourth year that I've gone on this trip and, as usual, I will be the only non-history teacher to go. The first year, I was invited as the heavy, the leg-breaker, the threat to keep kids in line.
"If you step out of line, you will spend your entire trip attached to Mr. Aion's hip."
This has happened at least once on every trip, for varying lengths of time, from an hour up to an entire afternoon. Inevitably, the punished student starts by sulking. They are upset that they have to hang out with me instead of, say, setting fire to the Lincoln Memorial or running up the down escalator in the Air and Space Museum.
However, after the initial sullenness has worn off, they realize that I'm a pretty awesome tour guide, especially in DC, a city that I love to visit. I know all sorts of random facts that kids love and, as long as they stay within the designated radius, I don't remind them that they are in trouble. I treat them as though I am their personal guide rather than their probation officer/escort.
All of the students that I have escorted on the various trips have said later that they learned more with me than the rest of the trip together.
The warm fuzzies add to the feeling of warm that comes along with wandering around DC in May.