Monday, September 22, 2008

I Survived...But Just Barely

I had heard rumors, old legends and folktales, but I had always believed they were mere stories of warning, meant to keep me on my toes and always be aware.  But no,  this past week I discovered that the myths, passed down from generation to generation, were absolutely true...

You can be pushed to the brink of total insanity by the eye-rolls, whines, and hrumphs of teenagers.

Before I say anymore, let me say this:  Mom and Dad, I am so very, very sorry for those tumoultous years roughly between 1991 and 1996.  Seriously...so very sorry.

This past week I, along with two other IA teachers, took twenty-one sixth and seventh graders on a four day field trip.  That's right, four days.  For over 80 hours, we endured the arms-crossed, heavy sigh, glare stance that only a teenage girl has down to perfection, the bodily function noises that only teenage boys can manufacture, and the high-pitched, naselly, and constant whine that all dogs across South America can hear.  We held our ground as we constantly reminded kids that, contrary to popular belief, we were not maids and would not be cleaning up after them after every meal.  We stayed up until the wee hours of the night, reminding cackling girls that yelling was very different from whispering, and energetic boys that we did have all exits to the building blocked, so don't even think about it.  We stopped games of truth or dare before the lips started to pucker, and fought to keep our sanity during bouts of the ever popular teenage game of argue-about-everything, including if the sky is actually blue.

In between battling bouts of adolescence gone a-muck, we actually had a pretty good time.  We took the students to San Pablo, a small village off of the coast of Ecuador.  We stayed in the small community run by our amazing friends, Aleida and Gonzalo.  The kids spent the majority of three days working in the San Pablo school, playing with the children of the village, and getting to know each other.

They created a miniture golf course inside the community center, learned a few new moves in soccer, made a quick trip to the beach, and flirted like you would not believe.  We played camp games, ate delicious food, worked hard, and laughed quite a bit.  

I stayed with the girls at Aleida and Gonzalo's beautiful beach house, and my fearless co-workers stayed with the boys in the community center.  Sounds like I got the better deal, yes?  Wrong.  The girls were up until the wee hours of the morning the first night.  I got quite the workout walking up and down the stairs, telling them to be quiet and get to sleep.  I finally started out sleeping on the ground between their two bedrooms the second night, just to save time between door bangings.  I believe my goodnight speech that night went something like this: 

Me:  Think back to today, remember how grouchy I was?
Girls:  eyes wide, nodding.
Me:  If we have another night like last night, I will be exponentially more grouchy tomorrow.  Decide now how you want tomorrow to go.

They were in bed, lights out, and quiet by 10:00.  Wonderful.  Now, if I could just get them to be quiet during class...