Saturday, June 7, 2008

Older and Wiser

When you're in school to become a teacher, a phrase that gets bandied about on a regular basis is "life-long learner." This phrase is ostensibly used to describe the types of teachers we should want to be who continue our education and stretch our knowledge base. Personally, I think it's just a term they handed us so that when we're sitting in a job interview and full of stress we'll have something to say when asked what kind of teacher we want to be, rather than something pithy like, "One with a job."

I must say, however, that I do think I learn at least something new every day. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes a not so good thing. Today I learned that you NEVER go to the Bronx Zoo on a Friday in June.

We are members of the zoo, and go relatively frequently. I try to get there around the time they open the parking lot (another lesson learned - don't go after lunch - parking lots are full, and small children end up weeping with disappointment and recriminations) and usually zip right in, park the car, and am merrily on my way. Not so this time. Miss Serious' class was having their annual field trip to the zoo, and The Professor was chaperoning. I thought it might be a nice idea to take Big Trouble on my own, so he wouldn't feel left out. Why it didn't occur to me that if Miss Serious' class was having their trip to the zoo that day, every school in America would be doing the same I have no idea. Unfortunately, even though I may learn new things every day, I seem to be becoming exponentially less intelligent as my children age. Lack of sleep? Lack of enough quiet time to put 2 coherent thoughts together in a row? Hmmmmm....

I drove happily to our destination, pulled around the corner of the street with the entrance, and was slapped in the face by the image I was presented with - a seemingly endless stream of yellow school buses. This is never a good sign. I mentioned to Big Trouble that maybe this wasn't the best day to go to the zoo, and of course that went over like a ton of bricks. I soldiered on, devoted mother that I am, and half an hour (and God only knows how much breathed-in bus fumes) later we crept up to the front gate, parked the car, and attempted to enter the zoo.

I say attempted, because we had to claw our way through a sea of children; I have never seen so many children in one spot - it was spectacular and I was sorry I had forgotten my camera. We got into the zoo, and I designed our destinations to avoid school groups as much as possible. Luckily the zoo is huge, and even though we had to make a few detours it was a great day. It always amazes me that you can be looking at all these majestic animals, and just past the outer trees you can see the apartment buildings of the Bronx. We left early enough that we wouldn't be caught in the exodus of all the buses (see, I DO learn) and zipped home. Much better than the time we went last year and came out to the parking lot to see one of my tires completely flat. Not sure what I was supposed to learn from that one....

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