Chaperoning your child's class field trip is meant to be fun for the kids...so don't make it about you.
Recently, a Modern Manners Guy Twitter follower DM’d me about a fellow chaperone on her son's class field trip to the aquarium. This totally self-centered person took an hour “break” from his duties to attend a shark presentation. Needless to say that was not part of the plan for the trip.
In case you didn’t pick up on it, it’s insanely rude to use the field trip for your own gain. We’re adults! If you want to see a certain exhibit, drive in your adult car and use your adult money to buy a ticket at a later date. Don’t push for a time out from the class. It's not about you.
Tip#3: Reprimanding Children
This is a very touchy subject. First and foremost, when I say “reprimand,” I by no means imply any physical discipline. And this goes double when you chaperone a group of children that are not your own. I understand that kids can get out of hand sometimes (I have two hellions myself). And during an exciting event like a field trip, when everyone is psyched, a child’s behavior may slip. As well, they may not view the chaperone as an authority figure like their teacher and may try to get away with acting up.
That being said, you cannot ever, and I mean ever, lose your cool and reprimand a child during the field trip (well, at least a child that isn't yours). This is a hands-off, low temper, calm voice day. Think, "Serenity Now."
When you see a child veering off the route, you can let the child know calmly that they should pay attention. If things get to the point where little Johnny is too much to handle, alert the teacher immediately. Tell her what is going on and see if the crazy little terror can be contained or switched to another group. Don’t make a scene about it and don’t take containment on yourself. This is the teacher's job. Don’t harp on it, don’t remind the kids about it. Just move on and go with the flow.
As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.
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