This entire week I have been away from school on the eighth grade trip to Québec and Montréal as part of our students experience studying French at the middle school. An administrator attends this trip along with the teachers every year. I rotate this responsibility along with the assistant principal and the curriculum associate for world languages. I’ve been on the trip on two previous occasions, but I have to say that this is the first time I have ever really GOT Québec… that is, understood what a fabulous city this really is.
Perhaps because the weather has been so warm and welcoming, I have been able to appreciate this lovely European-style North American city. Our tour guide joked that Québec has only two seasons, winter and construction. There is so little warm weather here that the minute the snow goes away, everyone starts digging up streets to do construction. It is the snowiest North American city. The students have been fantastic. They’re practicing their French and demonstrating all the social emotional literacy competencies we emphasize at our school every day. I’ve enjoyed watching them include others who are on the fringes of conversations, look out for classmates who are lagging behind during our many walking tours, and just generally demonstrate the kindness and consideration that we have set as expectations.
When they return to school on Monday most of these students will take the Algebra Regents. Most of them brought their books and have been studying during downtime. I’m sure they’re going to do fine on this state test, but I am also certain that they learned a lot more on this trip than they will in preparing for the regents. It’s been difficult to be away from the school building all week with all that has to be done before the end of the school year but I have thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the kids and with an amazing group of caring and spirited teachers who work hard and have given up time with their families to be here with our students so that they will have an experience they will never forget. As I am penning this blog post I am trying to find some deeper meaning to convey, isn’t that the point, but it occurs to me that all I wanted to do in this post is express how grateful I am to be surrounded by such special people — children and adults. Well, I guess that’s pretty deep.