Thursday, July 19, 2007


It's school trip time here in England. Basically it is when the teachers have to take their kids on an excursion before the end of the school year. I realised too late that the excursion, or "school journey" as it is called here, does not have to have any educational purpose of relevance. I could have loaded my 30 five year olds into a bus and taken them to see Shrek 3 at the local cinema. Or gone bowling. Or gone to a water theme park. Why take them somewhere educational? That would be logical and make sense and we all know that the English education system is neither of those 2 things!

Unfortunately for me I figured this out too late and had already booked a trip to Birdworld on the advice of some suspect staff members at school. Am beginning to think that they might have been having a laugh behind my back at this one.

The excursion was plagued with problems from the get go. Money, ballet exams, peanut allergies, parents with "issues" and miscommunication with another member of staff. But when you strip all that away, my kids had a ball. They were so excited to actually get out and see stuff. I don't think that they do enough of it over here. One of things I will remember the most abut teaching in London was when I first taught my class a PE lesson and we got changed (they aren't allowed to wear a PE uniform to and from school) and went outside and they all froze at the door. One of my boys turned to me and said "But we do PE in the Hall. We don't go outside".

Back to Birdworld. We got to see the penguin feeding, visit the education centre for a lesson and go through Underwater World. The park is especially proud that they have these most fantastic exotic birds. It is a huge draw card for them. You'll never guess where their "prize exotic birds" came from...Australia. Yep, I went all the way there to see a kookaburra in a cage! It was sooooooooooo exciting (I can't really type sarcasm, can I?). One of the boys in my class loved it though and was really excited to tell me that he had found another Australian animal to show me which was really sweet.

There were even magpies in a cage. Wow! (Again with the sarcasm, sorry). I told the kids about magpie season where they swoop at you and you have to walk to school with an empty ice cream bucket on your head with texta eyes on the back. They didn't believe me! Even the parent helpers thought I was pulling their leg. No matter how much I swore on it, they thought I was full of it.

But I went to Davina's for dinner that night and was talking with Barry (flatmate), Helen and Rachael (friends) about the whole not being believed part and they were aghast and started telling me stories of how they walked to school with ice-cream buckets on their head too! See England, I told you so!!!

I purposefully picked Birdworld because there were no slithery animals. Birds. Animals with feathers and wings. Happy with that. But as always, the best laid plans... of course there was a snake in the education centre. And of course the children wanted to pat it. And of course I was so close to the door that we could have been Siamese twins. Just thinking about that snake gives me the creeps.

All in all I'd give bird world one thumb up. I would have given it two except for the snake. I would have given it one and a half but I had a little girl who was petrified of owls. I finally managed to talk her into looking at the owls in an attempt to help her get over her fear. This was great until we looked down and saw that they had sacrificed baby chickens as food for the owls and the chicks with their broken necks were left in plain sight for all to see. Not the best idea and I'm sure the poor girl is now scarred for the rest of her life.

1 comment:

Voods said...

It is true, I remember even making ice cream bucket helmets at school. I even had the joy last year at school of putting children on magpie and plover detentions for "playing" with the birds. Hope you enjoyed your last couple of days and will talk to you soon. Have a good break. V