Horrible Tall Ship overnight field trip, 10-year-old has to write Thank You letter, how to tell Teacher? - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 52 Old 12-15-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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I'm glad you've decided this isn't a deal breaker for you.  I would most definitely want to hear the perspective of another adult who was there, if I were you.  Being forced to eat onions?  Define 'forced'. Being yelled at?  I'd need some perspective.

 

I'm curious to know how many girls are in the class.  The one female teacher may simply have been adequate for a small group of girls.  I missed where you said women chaperons were not allowed?  It might just be that only dads signed up for the trip. 

 

While I wouldn't be super angry about all of this, it sounds like this wasn't a fun or pleasant experience and wasn't particularly educational.  It might be worth it to mention something like that to your son's teacher.  Surely there are other, better 5th grade field trips to be had. 

 

Edited,  I see where you said only dads were allowed on the trip. Well, that's interesting.  As this doesn't directly affect your son I can see why you might not bother inquiring about that, but I'd be curious to know why women weren't allowed.

 

 

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DH thinks I'm being "too codependent" and "life isn't fair sometimes, it's not the end of the world." 

I'm not sure what your dh means by codependent but honestly, this might be why dads are the preferred chaperons.


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#32 of 52 Old 12-15-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanibani View Post I called one and she said her daughter had a great time.  Apparently the Captain took a liking to her.  She suggested I call one of the dads who chaperoned as is a psychologist to hear his take.  That sounds fair.  I'll keep ya' posted.

 



Since the teacher said she had a great time and this student said she had a great time, are you sure that your son isn't exaggerating about his experience?  Now that you are so upset about it he may be uncomfortable admitting that it wasn't as bad as he originally said.  (Or it was in fact horrible, I'm just playing devils advocate).

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#33 of 52 Old 12-15-2010, 08:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NYMommy2007 View Post


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tanibani View Post I called one and she said her daughter had a great time.  Apparently the Captain took a liking to her.  She suggested I call one of the dads who chaperoned as is a psychologist to hear his take.  That sounds fair.  I'll keep ya' posted.

 



Since the teacher said she had a great time and this student said she had a great time, are you sure that your son isn't exaggerating about his experience?  Now that you are so upset about it he may be uncomfortable admitting that it wasn't as bad as he originally said.  (Or it was in fact horrible, I'm just playing devils advocate).



Different people have different feelings about all kinds of things.  Many people hate broccolli, but some people love it.  To each his own.  

 

Some people thought this was a good field trip, and actually enjoyed it.  That's fine, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Those people are welcome to write glowing thank you letters to the ship people.  They can even recommend doing the same field trip again next year. 

 

The OP's DS didn't enjoy it though.  Is his opinion less valid?  Why should he be forced to lie just b/c some people did enjoy it.  


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#34 of 52 Old 12-15-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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Not the same. If her son and the other student had broccoli at the same table of a restaurant and her son reported that the waiter yelled at them but the other student reported she had a great time, that would be the same. 

 

Hmm, that's not right either. If the OP's son and the other student had broccoli from the same bowl and her son reported that there was something wrong with the broccoli while the other student reported it was normal broccoli, that would be the same.

 

Sorry to make such a big deal out of broccoli.  redface.gif

 

The possible issue is with perception.  The OP's son says the staff yelled at kids and adults alike and said kids were near-tearful.  But another student said she had a great time. That's quite the discrepancy.  If the OP was interested in pursing the issue she might want to investigate that discrepancy. 


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#35 of 52 Old 12-15-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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If grandma forced you to eat onions and watch her knit it all night long while she screamed at you... would you still write her a thank you letter for the 3-eared kitty sweater? :P

 

It reminds me of a Maury show where the children who want to have babies and have sex have to go to boot camp. If your kid is a horror I could see it being a good thing. (though I love onions and would eat them up... they'd have to use asparagus on me)

 

Thing is you KNOW these letters are going to the crew who are going to think they are doing the right thing and on the right path and is that the message you want to convey? I like the idea of critiquing the experience or writing a letter for something you are genuinely thankful for. And then pick him up before punishment time *cough* study time and go out for a burger or whatever it is you do for fun ;)

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#36 of 52 Old 12-16-2010, 01:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by babygirlie View Post

If grandma forced you to eat onions and watch her knit it all night long while she screamed at you... would you still write her a thank you letter for the 3-eared kitty sweater? :P


Off topic alert... Kinda sounds like my maternal grandmother, if you substitute "creamed corn" for "onions" and "watch her drink gin and tonic and rant about everyone in the family she hates while watching The Price Is Right" for "knit it all night long." Since she died though I have wished I sent her more thank you notes and was kinder in general. I miss her, despite the crazy stuff.


(I was pretty angry about the ranting and drinking)

 

Back on topic...OP I am dying to know what happened next? Did the other parent think it was ok? Will they let mothers go next year? What did the school say? Not that you are obligated to answer. smile.gif

 

 


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#37 of 52 Old 12-17-2010, 02:54 PM
 
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Sounds like you've already sent the letter. I think your son has learned how to write a good kiss-a** letter to a boss in the future. Not always pleasant, but occasionally a necessary and useful skill in life. I know, because I have often not learned this skill, and end up too honest, to the point of creating a headache for myself and others. So, personally I might find a way for my son to write two letters, the bs one and an honest one, and then let him share the honest one with you and the teacher - so it is out in the open, not a hidden secret. 

 

More importantly, since your son's job is to be at that school 5 days a week for the next half year or more, then he ought to be able to decide exactly how he should deal with it, since he is the one who has to live with the consequences. 

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#38 of 52 Old 12-19-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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There are excellent "living history" opportunities.  This, however, was not one of them.  I'd be talking to other parents to see what their kids said happened.  Your son could have an exaggerated idea of what happened (is he entitled to his opinion of the experience?  Absolutely, just suggesting a balanced answer because the truth will lie somwhere between what your son says and what other kids say, you know?).  I'd definitely let the principal know what was said by your child, that it was not a good experience and other options should be explored.

 

An example of "living history" done well is what was done at our magnet school just last week.  It's called Colonial Village and the kids learn how to do things as they were done in the 1800s (or there about, I can't remember the exact time frame).  They dip candles, make bread, make toys, instruments, etc.  These things are then for sale (small price) to the parents and other school kids for one night only at the end of the semester.  The students who participate are dressed in costume, etc.  It was amazing!  They only do it every two years because it's such a huge undertaking.

 

Jenn

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#39 of 52 Old 12-19-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rabrog View Post

There are excellent "living history" opportunities.  This, however, was not one of them.  I'd be talking to other parents to see what their kids said happened.  Your son could have an exaggerated idea of what happened (is he entitled to his opinion of the experience?  Absolutely, just suggesting a balanced answer because the truth will lie somwhere between what your son says and what other kids say, you know?).  I'd definitely let the principal know what was said by your child, that it was not a good experience and other options should be explored.

 

An example of "living history" done well is what was done at our magnet school just last week.  It's called Colonial Village and the kids learn how to do things as they were done in the 1800s (or there about, I can't remember the exact time frame).  They dip candles, make bread, make toys, instruments, etc.  These things are then for sale (small price) to the parents and other school kids for one night only at the end of the semester.  The students who participate are dressed in costume, etc.  It was amazing!  They only do it every two years because it's such a huge undertaking.

 

Jenn


Yeah, our fourth graders can spend a week-end at Sutter's Fort in Sacramento to have a 49rs gold rush era experience.  Dipping candles, making toys, working in the black smith shop (totally the best), making butter, etc. 


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#40 of 52 Old 12-19-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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I would definitely talk to one of the other parents. One thing that jumped out at me is that they didn't allow moms, and both the female teacher and a female student said they had a great time. It seems to me that it's very possible that the girls and boys had very different experiences, as there is obviously at least some kind of gender "lens" being used by the people who run the program. The teacher's email used the term "lady", complete with quotes (if I recall correctly - I haven't figured out how to review a whole thread while posting a reply), which does lead me to wonder if maybe the girls and teacher got the kind of treatment a female guest would have received, while the boys and men got the treatment a sailor belowdecks would have received. Even without historical accuracy, that leaves a lot of room for a huge disparity in the experiences, yk?


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#41 of 52 Old 12-26-2010, 05:47 PM
 
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I'd talk to some of the other parents before raising a big stink, but definitely talk to the teacher about your concerns.  Honestly, it sounds like a fun field trip to me, though I can see how a sensitive kid wouldn't have a great time.  I'd actually prefer this greatly over the usual candle making thing.  I dislike the emphasis on "quaint handcrafts of ye olden days" that a lot of living history museums and most school projects concentrate on.  It makes the past seem very quaint and wholesome and fun, when it was actually extremely dirty, hard, and dangerous.  I think it also teaches kids that handwork and simple things like baking belong in the olden days, and helps reinforce our cultural norm where we lack respect for production and doing things by hand.  Don't get me wrong: I love visiting living history museums, but they do present an extremely idealized view of what life was like for practically everyone.  

 

I'm assuming they served other things for the kids to eat than onions, right?  Was it an onion-based meal, or were the kids just encouraged to try a small piece?  And I've never been on a boat where there wasn't a lot of yelling.  When you're sailing, things have to be done quickly and there really can't be much room for goofing off.  I can see how he'd find it unfair if he got yelled at for other kids fooling around, but maybe they thought that he was fooling around too, if the rest of his group was.  If he was supposed to be in charge of these other boys, the teacher should have stepped in at that grouping if she thought that their personalities conflicted and your DS couldn't get them to behave.  Sometimes that sort of thing works, and sometimes it doesn't.

 

I think the success of this sort of thing really depends on the child's temperament, and it's unfortunate that they didn't give you a heads up about what was this trip was going to entail.  The school should have been more clear, so that you could have kept him at home.

 

As for the lack of female chaperones, I assume it had to do with sleeping quarters.  For example, if the boys slept on deck and the girls slept in the cabins, then there could be only room for the female teacher down below while plenty of room for extra men to sleep on the deck.


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#42 of 52 Old 12-26-2010, 07:47 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lach View Post
As for the lack of female chaperones, I assume it had to do with sleeping quarters.  For example, if the boys slept on deck and the girls slept in the cabins, then there could be only room for the female teacher down below while plenty of room for extra men to sleep on the deck.


This kind of supports what I was wondering about, though. If the boys were sleeping on deck, and the girls in cabins, then they were definitely having different experiences, yk? I'm not saying that the boy/girl disparity of experiences did happen, though - just that it could have.


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#43 of 52 Old 12-27-2010, 07:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lach View Post

 

As for the lack of female chaperones, I assume it had to do with sleeping quarters.  For example, if the boys slept on deck and the girls slept in the cabins, then there could be only room for the female teacher down below while plenty of room for extra men to sleep on the deck.


 

My guess was that they were aiming for equal numbers of chaperones of each gender so that both sleeping quarters were covered.  Since the teachers were likely female, they needed male chaperones to balance things out.
 

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#44 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies.  Parents were given a heads up that it would be "harder" and kids would take turns staying up, keeping watch.  I thought my son (easy going temperament) would be fine.  But he also thrives on harmony and is sensitive, so for him, I don't think this was the learning experience it was meant to be.  We both learned other things.

 

Here is a email response from a dad (a psychologist) who chaperoned on the trip: 

 

"Sorry for the delay.  Your email was sent to my junk pile.  anyway, the trip was a HUGE success!!!  the kids did amazing.  The ship actors were fantastic!!!"

 

So... perhaps this was just my son.  My sister has pointed out that he (from what I have told her and others have told her) is especially sensitive to being reprimanded.  If I raise my voice (not yelling at him) he says it's yelling.  He feels like he is being yelled at.  (I'm the same way BTW.)

 

So maybe this whole thing just pushed all the wrong buttons on him.  Maybe it wasn't the trip per se.

 

I can't go back and undo the trip.  All I can do is learn from it and be more questioning the next time.

 

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#45 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 11:39 AM
 
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In the psyc field even when off we are sort of expected to be on, or at least notice if one of the people nearby are in distress. Maybe he's not a child psych? I'm sure he was with his own child(ren) and paying most attention to them...
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#46 of 52 Old 12-30-2010, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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txbikegrrrl - and my son doesn't show he is in distress anyway.  He tends to hide it.  


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#47 of 52 Old 12-31-2010, 02:21 PM
 
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Could it be that being put in charge of his group (and their noncooperations) was too much stress on him and made everything seem more upsetting.  

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#48 of 52 Old 01-28-2011, 11:44 AM
 
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With all due respect, it sounds like you are stressing more about this than your son.  I'm a father and have been on this exact trip with two of my children.  Perhaps the crew was a different set of people, but I recall their behavior as just exposing kids to a "taste" of what a ten year old crew member would have experienced on a ship centuries ago.  As you did not experience the trip firsthand, I can tell you I see how these experiences when done right, can teach kids to appreciate the luxuries they often take for granted as well as the sacrifices made for our freedoms today.  The crew led many hands-on activities that taught the kids geography and history and isn't that what we want as parents as opposed to only being handed a textbook to sort through history.  My kids ate onions and were told why and how it sustained early explorers.  They ate hard tack and it was awful then we had our usual meals.  The crew asked the adults to take a hands off approach and the kids did very well.  Kids are told to pull ropes and work as a team and pay attention.  They have no choice.  There's no complaining allowed--simply, you are expected to pull your weight.  I can't think of a more valuable lesson than that especially for entitled, coddled kids.  If your son's experience was so awful, have him detail it in his letter honestly and respectfully.  Thank the crew for their time and efforts and explain to the crew how things could have been better.  Teach your son to cope and find solutions with less intervening--the same lessons that crew is trying to teach our kids.  Good luck.

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#49 of 52 Old 01-28-2011, 11:58 AM
 
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With all due respect, it sounds like you are stressing more about this than your son.  I'm a father and have been on this exact trip with two of my children.  Perhaps the crew was a different set of people, but I recall their behavior as just exposing kids to a "taste" of what a ten year old crew member would have experienced on a ship centuries ago.  As you did not experience the trip firsthand, I can tell you I see how these experiences when done right, can teach kids to appreciate the luxuries they often take for granted as well as the sacrifices made for our freedoms today.  The crew led many hands-on activities that taught the kids geography and history and isn't that what we want as parents as opposed to only being handed a textbook to sort through history.  My kids ate onions and were told why and how it sustained early explorers.  They ate hard tack and it was awful then we had our usual meals.  The crew asked the adults to take a hands off approach and the kids did very well.  Kids are told to pull ropes and work as a team and pay attention.  They have no choice.  There's no complaining allowed--simply, you are expected to pull your weight.  I can't think of a more valuable lesson than that especially for entitled, coddled kids.  If your son's experience was so awful, have him detail it in his letter honestly and respectfully.  Thank the crew for their time and efforts and explain to the crew how things could have been better.  Teach your son to cope and find solutions with less intervening--the same lessons that crew is trying to teach our kids.  Good luck.


I know that this is a very old thread (and I am curious OP what ended up happening, if anything), but I just want to jump in and respond quickly to the PP:

I never in a million years want to teach my child that having "no choice" but to be bullied and treated poorly is ok. Does this make him entitled? Damn straight..entitled to being treated with grace and politeness. Teaching about history is all well and good (and I say this as a credentialed secondary school history teacher) but this trip is akin to putting people on a slave ship to "teach" them what its like to be chattel. That's not good teaching its sanctioned abuse. Lower class children were basically regarded as slaves in the nineteenth century...we've thankfully moved beyond that. What on earth is the benefit of recreating such an environment?
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#50 of 52 Old 01-31-2011, 09:56 AM
 
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Sorry, having problems editing.

 


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#51 of 52 Old 01-31-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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#52 of 52 Old 01-31-2011, 01:49 PM
 
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