There are a lot of things I like about being an 8th grade teacher; one of the many perks is the annual trip to Washington, DC. I've attended this trip as a chaperone quite a few times now. It never fails to be totally exhausting and totally worth it.
Here's a breakdown of our trip.
|The grand total of students and teachers in our group ended up being 95. We had two charter buses to take us around the city.
The comments on this cracked me up. Our kids are generally really well-behaved on the plane and in public. There was some confusion regarding bags and boarding, but we were in the air by 6am and ready to start our tours by 9.
We did most of our walking on Wednesday. (One student tracked it on a pedometer and the final result was over 7 miles.)
I love Arlington and was happy to see it on the first day. Throughout the day, I found myself repeating, "This is one of my favorite memorials" and had to laugh. Apparently I just love the art and symbolism of them all!
|The MLK Memorial.
|The changing of the guard at Arlington's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
|Walking down from the farm animals to Washington's crypt at Mt. Vernon.
Needless to say, after the first day the kids were complaining a bit about their tired legs. Before the trip, we make it pretty clear that they'll be walking a lot, but they never seem to believe us!
Day two was set at a more comfortable pace. We took our time at the memorials and a few students found names of their parents' Viet Nam comrades on the wall. We didn't do the entire USHM (although I wanted to) and instead looked at the "They Were Neighbors" exhibit. The highlight for many students came after, when our guides surprised us with a trip to the zoo to see the pandas. They were awake and active! I think ending the evening on a light note was a great plan.
|The WWII Memorial.
|The Washington Monument.
|The Supreme Court
|Some of the teachers at the WWII Memorial.
|Bao Bao was very active when we went to see the pandas!
By Friday morning, I was in desperate need of some alone time. Luckily, our hotel had a rooftop fitness center and pool. (I would have run outside but we actually stay outside of DC on this trip and I didn't know the area well enough.) Despite walking about 7 miles a day, I really needed a run, and it was glorious.
|The view from the hotel roof.
|I had the gym all to myself...I needed that!
After my run, I did some arm and core work, then headed back to my room to pack.
This trip had a few new things thrown in, including the National Portrait Gallery. It was fun to see the presidential portraits, but I was most excited to see the female Supreme Court Justices.
|My students were curious about my love for RBG; I enjoyed having the chance to educate them about such a strong, fearless woman.
A highlight of our return trip was that, on our way to our gate, we heard clapping and cheers. An honor flight of WWII veterans was disembarking and people were applauding their walk down the concourse. It was a wonderful final moment in DC.
Words can't really express how exhausted I was after this whirlwind. I got home and was in bed by midnight Friday, slept until 11, woke up for breakfast, and then napped again from 2pm to 5pm. I'm still not functioning fully.
The rest of my weekend will be dedicated to final grades and comments for the year. This last week is going to be insane...I've got blinders on for one more week, and then hopefully I'll transform back into a normal person again.
Have you been to DC? What's your favorite thing to do there?