(Note: My student's name has been changed to protect his identity)
As mentioned previously I spent from Tuesday until Friday of this past week with our year group on the Isle of Wight. There were a few small humours moments.
There were 10 chaperones for a total of what ended up to be 87 kids. Three kids dropped out last minute due to illness and four others opted not to go. We have a small year group this year- I'm not complaining! My chaperone group of ten students decided that they needed a name. They came up with the name Martinis, as my surname is Martin. I stressed that we were non-alcoholic martinis and they agreed (This was after I told two off who proclaimed we were, "Vodka!" at the top of their lungs. Personally if we were going to be any martinis I'd want us to be Espresso Martinis but I wasn't telling them that.)
I have to say that out of all the five years that I have gone on this school trip, my chaperone group was the best behaved one I've ever had. Plus, being an international school there were several different languages that the kids could speak besides English. So, when I had them count off (each student had a number) we began in English, but then there was an insistence that we switch to Spanish, then French, then German and finally Dutch.
Here are the Martinis at Osborne House (Queen Victoria's home for much of her life)
I was a bit concerned about a student I'll call TK. He constantly blurts out, goofs off and gets in loads of trouble outside of class as well. His naughtiness is never really malicious so much as it's a case of bad judgement. And a case of bad judgement hit TK as we were leaving Osborne House. Like all good tourist areas, Osborne House has you exit via the gift shop. We had established rules about what they could buy at the gift shop. Sweets and any object that can be used as a weapon were not allowed. We were out of time and so to the disappointment of my group I informed them there would be very little time to shop. But oh no, this wouldn't do for TK. When we left the gift shop, he was noticeably absent. After about 5 minutes of waiting, TK came running up to us full of apologies but proudly declared, "Miss Martin, look! I bought a slingshot!" There were a few chuckles from the rest of my group as I rolled my eyes, sighed and gently reminded him that a slingshot was a weapon. He reluctantly placed it in my outstretched hand and I kept a hold of his tool of destruction until the we returned to school.
Wednesday night was my over night duty on-call. This meant that if there were problems after 'lights out', students would come to me. One of my little Martinis had a topical allergic reaction and I had to tend to her first at 1:00 and then again 2:00am when it finally subsided. At 4am I had a dream that a car alarm was going off outside my flat when I heard a pounding on the door to my cabin. I opened the door to 6 very tired and nervous looking boys. "Miss Martin, our smoke detector is going off and won't stop....and there's no smoke." I sleepily stumbled into their cabin. There was indeed no smoke and nothing to cause it. So, I stood balanced on the edge of the lower bunk in the bunk bed, reached out and hit the magic-button on the detector and the noise stopped. There was much rejoicing and we all went peacefully back to bed....for about 10 minutes.
I heard the alarm clearly this time and was out of my bed like I shot. The boys were also out of their cabin and on their way to get me. As I went back to their cabin to do my bunk-balancing/magic-button act, one of them said that the smoke detector had begun to go off with a few sporadic beeps before bursting into its monotonous, piercing nose. I didn't want to be responsible for 'illegally' removing the smoke detector. So as it was slowly building up for its third fit, I grabbed my folder with all the very important information and rang the 24 hour emergency number. I assumed this was was the number for someone at out camp site. It wasn't.
I ended up with a very annoyed woman on the other end of the phone. The number I rang was indeed the number for 24 hour emergencies but for the company that owns the camp and several others, not for the camp itself. She asked why I hadn't rung someone at the camp and I informed her that this was the only number I had been given. After telling me she would ring security at the camp, she hung up on me. About 20 minutes and two magic-button pushes later the security man, who was so large he could barely walk, showed up. He asked me to get on the top bunk and take out the battery. I did. The smoke detector still continued to beep away. I unscrewed the detector, which revealed that it was wired to the ceiling. I tried to hit the magic-button to silence it. However since it was dangling from the ceiling, the detector's button had lost its magic. The heavyset security officer attempted to stand up on the bunk bed and balance the way I had and in so doing nearly knocked me off the top bunk. Finally, out of frustration I grasped at the wires and what appeared to be a plug. I yanked. Nothing. I yanked again. Still nothing. I yanked one final time and out it came followed by blissful silence, which was instantly broken by cheering from the boys.
The next morning the boys were singing my praises as the smoke-detector slayer while I almost slept through breakfast.
The following day my group participated in "The Sensory Trail". Essentially they were all blindfolded and had to walk through a muddy obstacle course in single file with their right hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them. They were encouraged to use their senses and communication skills to work together as a team. I stood silently watching and giggling as they made their way down the path. Upon passing me one of the boys said, "I smell Miss Martin." I was horrified at first but then again he didn't wrinkle his nose-just stated it as a fact. Thus, I'm assuming (and hoping) I smell nice.
And so those were the highlights of our Isle of Wight trip. Since I'm moving up a year level this was the last time I'll be chaperoning this trip. Overall, not a bad way to go.
I leave you now with some quick snaps I took of Carisbrooke Castle, which I absolutely adore and shall miss.