Last week I chaperoned the greatest field trip I can ever expect to go on… to Italy. Along with 3 colleagues, we flew 23 students to Rome for a 7 day Italian adventure. Each of the students takes Latin in school, and were far more qualified than myself to visit each of the historic sites. I’ve traveled abroad many times before, but there is something about sharing this experience with my students that makes this trip one of the best I have ever taken. It would have been impossible for our group to not become a family on this journey, as we spent numerous hours on a bus, exploring the streets of Rome, and bonding over our love/hate for various tour guides we encountered. I watched students who had never spoken to each other at school become close friends and take selfie after selfie together. I watched eight students wake up early each morning to go for a sunrise run or participate in a mini spartan workout. I watched students who have never been away from their parents for more than a night, flourish and make choices on their own. I watched our male students become protectors of the entire group as we walked the city streets.
I often found myself at the back of the group, feeling protective of our students, and wanting to make sure they were all in front of me and visible. It is during some of these times that I found myself happiest on the trip. Different students would find their way to the back of the line, some because they were tired and lagging a bit, or some because they couldn’t wait to tell me about something they just saw. I learned so much about my students and their lives during these conversations, and was able to share so much more of myself than I usually do in the classroom. There’s something special about sharing moments when you’re drenched with sweat, you’ve already walked four miles, and you’re on your third gelato of the day.
It was truly the adventure of a lifetime and I’m so grateful I was given the opportunity to chaperone. It is my hope, that some of the friendships formed will continue during the school year, and I know, that the memories of this trip is something we will all share forever. Here is a snapshot of some of the things we saw/did (minus student pictures for privacy):