School Camp

In Musings by Classtoglass

As my full time teaching career nears it’s end, I find myself involved in the dreaded end of year school camp. The sense of relief I feel that this may be my last residential school trip has made me reflect on some of the other residential trips I have been part of, and how times have changed in regards to alcohol consumption when in ‘loco parentis.’

Until I came to Australia, I spent some of my best years in the profession living and working in boarding schools, so I am probably more comfortable than the majority of teachers when it comes to being responsible for students outside of the school day. However, the last ten years of my career, I have noticed a big change in the attitude towards alcohol consumption in and out of schools. The camp from which I write this post is the only residential school trip I have been on where there has not been a single drop of wine consumed. Not just that, no one even mentioned the grapey-nectar. That is until, my big mouth mentioned it, or rather the lack of it. Truth is, I’m fine without it – these days the responsibility weighs too heavy, and it turns out that alcohol consumption in this setting is actually completely forbidden for exactly that reason.

vampI was relieved that my colleagues appeared to have swiftly gotten over their judgement of me as talk quickly turned to legendary stories of trips-past. I name no names but by all accounts my hungover hikes up Welsh mountains with groups of moaning pre-teens were nothing compared to some: Teachers falling into bed an hour before the wake up bell, teachers stopping school buses to buy a slab of beer, teachers bursting out of sessions to vomit and even teachers shagging teachers on hotel staircases or in cars (occasionally discovered by students.) From some of the stories two things seemed clear: The teaching profession is just not as much fun anymore, and we probably brought these rules on ourselves! For many of us it is luck that we still have our careers.
Often, though exhausting, the good times usually outweigh the tough times on school trips as you get to know your students on another level. There are lots of staff on this camp too which has given me time to work on my pathway to wine…. and look forward to when we are reunited. The picture shows me burying myself in Winestate Magazine to escape from the fortieth round of ‘The wheels on the bus…’