Yesterday, I stopped by to visit an old friend who was busy cutting out cute handouts for her granddaughter to give to her kindergartners. The cutouts looked like tickets to a sporting event but were tickets to a “VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP.” I thought how ingenious this public school teacher was. Obviously, no budget for a real field trip but making something special for her students.
The thought of virtual field trips inspired me to think about my own field trip experiences now that I’m almost 80. Me, my husband and our sons are all graduates of public schools. I remember being a parent sponsor for our oldest son’s trip to the Kansas City Zoo back in the 80s. I was also a parent sponsor for our youngest son’s fourth-grade trip to the KU Natural History Museum.
And just 5 years ago I helped sponsor high school art students from Paola, Spring Hill and Osawatomie take a field trip to Rollin Karg’s Art Glass Studio in Kechi, Kan., where they met the artist and blew their own glass ornaments thanks to the support of the Miami County Arts Coalition and the Baehr Foundation.
I wonder what a philosopher like Will Rogers would say about virtual field trips. In the current noisy environment our society has created, I even wonder if we could hear what he might say. As for me, I am grateful that our local schools still have gifted public educators who focus on their students. Imagine what a much better future children in public schools might have if those running national teachers’ organizations had the same focus.
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