Adulting, Again

So next week, I’ll be going to Toronto for three days with Gal Smiley’s Grade 8 class. It’s my own fault. I sort of half-volunteered during a conversation I was having with the teachers about Gal’s many, many food allergies, and what their plan was to feed her on this trip. It turned out there wasn’t ANY plan, and I was nervous, so while I was giving them dozens of sheets of printouts outlining all her allergies and safe foods, I also threw in the fact that I’d be willing to go with them, if needed, to make sure she ate properly.

Let’s sign you up!, the teachers said. They are no dummies.

Now that I am going, I am no longer worried about what Gal Smiley will eat, but I have a whole list of new worries. Mostly I am worried about potential male/female interaction among horny 14-year-olds, whether it be snogging at the back of the bus, or sneaking in and out of hotel rooms at night. My friend Lee Ann told me that her own mother went on a similar Grade 8 trip, and sat up, awake in the hallway, all night, where she returned girls to their rooms every few minutes.

I am totally willing to be Fooling Around Crackdown Mom, but I am mostly worried about whether my role as night watchman means I will literally get zero sleep over the two nights. Trust me – the world does not want a Lynn who is running on minimal sleep. It’s not pretty.

Someone else, I forget who, warned me that on their own Grade 8 trip, someone smuggled a bottle of alcohol into their suitcase, resulting in one of the hotel rooms becoming a “party room,” and the supervisors both having to a) clean up vomit and b) strongarm sick, hungover kids onto a bus for several museum tours the next day. I am feeling like that is not going be so much “fun” as “horrifying.”

And of course, there are simpler worries, like what if a kid gets sick or injured (legitimately, not from alcohol poisoning), or what if we misplace a kid, or what if we meet Doug Ford on a tour of the Ontario Parliament Buildings and one of the kids “accidentally” kicks him in the shins. What if the kids are bored and not being respectful or paying attention? Or a kid whips out a cigarette and claims their parents are “totally cool with it”? Or a kid loses their wallet in the Eaton’s Centre and my entire three days are one big mall-based scavenger hunt?

Your positive stories of successful trip supervision would be appreciated.

5 thoughts on “Adulting, Again

  1. Being the mother of boys, I always had to supervise a group of boys. I’d gaze longingly at the mothers with group of girls, standing together reading the info posted about a museum exhibit, while I was pulling boys OUT OF the museum exhibit.
    Once at an annual school outing to the Richmond Fair, I returned my charges to the teacher, announcing proudly, “and only one is bleeding!”
    Oh wait. You wanted a positive story.
    Sorry. I don’t have any of those. 🙂

  2. Lucky Sevens

    I went on a four day trip with grade 11 and 12 students to New York City two years ago. It was a lovely trip. Students don’t want to get lost so they will follow rules about where to meet up. We had many 16 and 17 year old boys and girls on the trip and there were no issues of sneaking into each other’s room after curfew. So it is possible for you to get sleep on this trip! I also know of many overseas trips where teenagers didn’t get in trouble. So odds are in your favour. Should be noted that I am not sharing the stories I have where some of the things you mentioned did happen. 😉

    All this to say it is possible to have an “event” free trip. Have fun!

  3. Zhu

    I’m not at that advanced stage of motherhood (you reached expert level, I’m still a beginner) but I participated in many school trips as a student and even though cigarettes were smoked (eh, this was in France…) and boys/girls were met, we always all came back from it okay 😉

    Good luck! Toronto ain’t sin city, you’ll be fine.

  4. As a high school teacher, I supervised one band trip and three trips to Europe, and all the kids were pretty well-behaved all things considered. I mean, they were a bit older than grade 8 (these were kids mostly in grade 11 and 12) and maybe they snuck out because we gave them some freedom (especially with the Europe trips) but you know, no one got sick or drunk and no one missed anything important and they showed up at the right place at the right time… It helped that we did a lot of communication with the parents ahead of time and that they were good kids, but it’s entirely possible to have a wonderful time. I will echo what you said about the sleeping though – make sure you get sleep – because it’s going to be miserable if you don’t. Prioritize that for sure! Good luck!!

  5. I just got back from a four-day grade eight band trip to Quebec City. Two years ago, I went on a three-day grade eight band trip to Toronto. In both cases the kids were INCREDIBLY well-behaved. The first trip we told them we were sticking tape to the outside of their hotel doors after we did night check. If anyone’s tape was broken in the morning, big trouble. On this most recent trip, we had a night watchman from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and I have to say, that was heavenly! When you’re out and about, it’s true the kids don’t want to get lost. They’ll actually come and seek you out when they have free time. They want to show you what they’ve seen / found, etc.

    There was actually an evening when we had eaten in one room, and all the kids had then been taken to another room for a dance. The dishes were left on the table in the original room, including several glasses half-full of wine from the teachers’ / parents’ meals. I went back to that room (which was totally accessible) to get something and saw all the wine just sitting there and had a thought that today’s kids are much better-behaved than we were in my day, because that would have been GONE when I went to school 🙂

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