The field trip to Stanford went great yesterday, and all the kids loved it. And what could go wrong with bringing 60+ kids to Stanford by way of two transit busses, a train and a shuttle – each way. The kids (and the two teachers and six chaperones) walked at least six miles, and I think I might have walked eight.
Since the transit system can only realistically handle about 30 kids during rush hour, we split up our two classes by taking busses 20 minutes apart. Almost immediately, problems started to happen. There was major construction along our route (BART is coming to Milpitas!) so the first bus was 20 minutes late and our bus, the second bus, was also 20 minutes late. Fortunately, somewhere along the line, our bus made up 14 minutes, but that still had us missing our connecting bus. No problem though, our bus driver told us that a different bus also went there and that it was literally right behind our bus. We ran off our bus and ran onto the other bus. We got to the train station with nine minutes to spare. We didn’t see the earlier group, so they had made their train as well. Once we got off the train, we just missed the shuttle bus so we had to wait 20 minutes for the next one. This was going to put a crimp in my museum time. Truthfully, it would have been better for us to walk the 0.9 miles to get to the museum, but no one wanted to walk there.
Once we got to the museum, another 10 minutes were spent putting backpacks away in lockers, since they were not allowed in the museum. Once we got going, my little docent tour went great, though in every room, those “look around for 2 minute” periods between what I was talking about were often 10 minute periods. No problem, we were on a somewhat flexible schedule, and whenever group two was ready to start, Barbara would finish the tour with group one. That didn’t happen because group two was running about 30 minutes late from eating lunch and they were a VERY slow group when walking from one place to the other. By the time they arrived, I had 25 minutes to show them art, and this included stowing their bags. I got the kids moving faster, and we got everything stashed in 5 minutes. With only 20 minutes left, I concentrated only on the Rodin collection. I actually had more time to talk about Rodin, since we weren’t seeing the rest of the museum, so it was a really good lecture, if I don’t say so myself. The kids and the chaperones were mesmerized. I even picked up about 10 adults who were simply in the museum at the time. They thanked me after the tour was over.
After that, I marched group two to the visitor’s center where the campus tour was to start. Group one had not appeared yet so we texted them. They had taken their time getting to lunch (seeing additional Rodin sculptures along the way), so they were now eating while walking about a mile to the visitor’s center. When they arrived… about 20 minutes late, we started, again in two groups. Our tour guide was good, but the kids were so tired from walking that they didn’t seem interested and didn’t ask any questions. I was impressed that our guide walked backwards the entire time (for around three miles) and never fell or hit anything, even though we were walking across streets and through bike and pedestrian traffic that also included poles in the ground. We saw the newer sections of the campus (engineering, computer science) and the original buildings, including the very beautiful church on campus. I had never been in this church before, so it was a highlight for me. Eventually, we wound up at the very fancy housing and frat house section. These places were palatial! After the tour was over, we had only 25 minutes to get clear across campus to the train station, so we were not able to go to the book store. The students were bummed about this. We got on a shuttle bus just as it was about to leave. This was fortunate because when we arrived, our train was scheduled to be there in just two more minutes. Group two would not make it, so they would take the train 20 minutes later… in theory. In actuality, our train had had mechanical issues and was now running 20 minutes late. Two trains were now scheduled to arrive at the same time. Group two arrived and a few minutes later, so did our train. We all got on. At the train station in San Jose, group two went straight to the busses. My group had several who needed to use the bathroom, and one student had left his backpack on the train so they had to run back to find it. I took most of the group on the next available bus. My wife, plus four others, stayed behind to look for that backpack. As my group pulled into the transfer point, we could see the teacher from the other group literally pushing kids onto the next bus. It was packed to the gills. We would wait for the next one in 20 minutes. We waived to group two as they drove past us. While waiting, my son called. He is now graduating on June 13th, so if he takes the redeye to New York, he can attend his cousin’s wedding with the rest of us. This was good news! Also good, my wife showed up before the next bus arrived. Alas, the backpack had been stolen, so the student was out a backpack, about $10 in cash and some food. We caught the bus and made it back to the school in an hour. It was now 5:30 and we had been going since 8AM. It was a very full day!
This morning (now the next day), I was to sub for PE, but the PE guy didn’t put me in the system correctly. I got to school and learned that they had already given the job to someone else. I’m surprise that this hasn’t happened to me more, but today, I was out of a job. I’m OK with that though – I’m tired from yesterday, I have to plan our New York trip, and I have some chip work to do. It’s going to be a good day!