The lessons and memories of a good field trip

Annie Dear
The Independent Aussie
Annie Dear

Do you remember school field trips, or school excursions as I knew them?

Permission slips were gladly handed over to the teacher, no matter what the trip was. The art gallery? Meh – but it was time out of school. The natural history museum? Quite cool in parts, dead boring in others. The zoo? Bring it on as many times as you like.

I remember two such excursions quite vividly. One was an overnighter to the Snowy Mountain Hydro-Electric Scheme. Quite a feat for its time, the engineers had cleverly diverted a river and made it so the water rushing over the new dam created enough power to have the turbines rocking and rolling and creating enough electricity to help power New South Wales and Victoria. See, we were green, even back then. 

The trip involved travel by train – in sleeper compartments even. It being the Snowy Mountains, as you might guess, we saw snow, but as I was 9 at the time and was the first time any of us had seen the white stuff, it was thrilling. The dam itself? Meh. Science, schmience.

Another had our amazingly fabulous English teacher, Mrs. Jennings whom I still remember with great fondness, bravely taking a class of hormonal 13-year-old girls to see Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey bring Shakespeare to life for us in "Romeo and Juliet" on the big screen. Naturally she ended up having to escort some 30 sobbing young ladies back to school later that day. It also inspired a rash of Leonard Whiting posters cropping up in our school lockers to vie with Paul McCartney – a fact that caused our priggish head mistress to go have a cup of tea, an aspirin and a good lie down.

Ah how times have changed.

A couple of weeks ago, a Florida elementary school teacher was “so honored to be invited to chaperone the (name withheld for legal reasons) Elementary School’s field trip to the incredible Rosie’s!”

Ah, a botanical garden, I hear you sigh – there for the kiddies to learn all about roses and propagation and scents and colors. Mmmm, yes, well, not so much.

No, dear reader, this field trip was to Rosie’s Gar and Grill – it being a “tropical oasis in the middle of the Island City, since 2006, offering amazing food and refreshing drinks”. Food such as the Big Girl Burger, Rhoda Cowboy, Ivana Hooker, Hellena Bun, Georgia Bleu, Young Ranch Hand and Willy Cheesecake – although it was not confirmed that this particular menu was handed to the children.

“Whether you are LBGTQ+ or an ally … you will have a memorable experience.”

I’m all for kids having memorable experiences, but ones I would hope that would not give rise to utter confusion and the possibility of nightmares. Not to mention the question that naturally arises – what homework were the children given to prove they’d paid attention?

There’s a time and a place for everything, but combining elementary-aged school kids and LGBTQ plus or minus – I wouldn’t have thought would be ideal.

After all, I got through life with the sex education passed down to me from my mother: “Don’t let him take you out on the back lawn." It wasn’t till I was much older that I realized the back lawn was really quite a fun place.

“Mommy, Mommy!” I can hear little Sally’s excited cry. “We had funny named food, and really colorful drinks and saw really big ladies with really deep voices dressed in skinny clothes. But mommy – do you know what’s really sad. Miss Flaflode doesn’t know her alphabet – she kept calling it LGBTQ.”

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedear@icloud.com.