Never promise a child an oboe

Last week I went with my 2nd grade class to a performance of “Peter and the Wolf” – the orchestral, narrated story by Sergei Prokofiev.

Disclaimer: this post makes it sound like our field trip to “Peter and the Wolf” was completely awful and ridiculous – this was not the case – it actually went really well and most of the time the students had a lovely time. There were just a few … moments.

My class of 17 7-year-olds were super excited, having watched the Disney cartoon version of the performance the week previously. We left in high spirits on the bus along with 1st grade.

When you’re in 1st and 2nd grade and you get to go on a field trip this translates into loud talking on the bus. Loud talking becomes shouting. Screaming would be an accurate description of the level of noise coming from each student. I stared out the window and dreamed of summer.

Did I mention that our classroom teacher was out for the day? And that we had a substitute? Well. She was. And we did.

Before leaving to get on the bus we assigned each student a Field-Trip-Buddy that they had to stand in line with and sit next to on the bus and sit with at the performance. I tried to make sure that talkative people were paired with quiet students. I forgot that once we sat down in the audience that there would be someone on BOTH sides of each student. I failed to account for this obvious, loud problem.

The auditorium was filled with students from many schools in the area. We walked [we did NOT run] in and sat down where we were assigned. I placed myself between two students who I felt should be separated.

When the lights went down some children screamed. You’d think they’d never been at a movie or a play before.

As soon as the show began the children started asking me where the wolf was and when Peter would come on stage. I was just as disappointed as them when we discovered that he was not coming on stage. There was a man telling the story.

[Let me take this moment to say that this show was totally wonderful and that the majority of children had a lovely time. I just sat next to the wrong child]

When you are 7 years old sitting on a swingy seat is very interesting. You must try to sit on it in every position possible – with your feet under your bottom, with your seat all the way up, with your feet kicking the head of the person in front of you, with your head resting on the arm rest, with your head resting on your knees, with your legs on the student next to you, and with your shoes off.

When you are a 7 year old and your feel gipped out of seeing a person in a wolf costume [or a real wolf eating duck on stage!] then it may seem perfectly reasonable for you to boo at the conclusion of the performance. And to give thumbs-down. And to loudly proclaim to those around you this this was the worst field trip ever. This is normal behavior.

At the conclusion of the show there was an instrument petting-zoo. The orchestra brought their instruments down into the audience to show the children how they worked. Unfortunately [or thankfully, depending on your viewpoint] our school had to leave at this time because our dismissal is earlier than most of the other schools.

There is nothing worse than assuring a child that if he sits quietly and doesn’t yell “Where’s the wolf?!” or “Kill the duck!” that he will get to touch an oboe and then just whip that out from under his nose at the last second. I paid for my mistake for several days. Touching an oboe, apparently, is a life dream for some.

Tune in next time for a rendition of our trip to the Conservation Fair where some students got to ride in a Hay Wagon and others did not.

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