Welcome to my first Memory Lane Blog!
Every time there are five weeks in the month, I will be traveling down Memory Lane with my teaching. Of course, the most prominent memory has to be all the East Coast Trips I did with my 8th graders. I taught in middle school for 13 years before landing at the elementary school I am at now. During my middle school teaching years, I organized and accompanied students on eight East Coast Trips. They were a lot of hard work and it was totally worth it!
I taught in a low economic area and I was able to take 30 students each year. I won’t kid you, my second job was fundraising. I would raise close to $5,000 myself each year. I did candy sales, car washes, cookie/wrapping paper orders, donations, and weekly food sales with the students. Those students really appreciated the trip when we finally went because they worked very hard to get there.
The trip was 6 days and 5 nights. Some of the students had never been out of California, let allow across the country. So much of our adventures were very new to them, even flying in a plane. We spent the first 3 days in Washington DC going to all the monuments, the Capital, and National Archives. Students were enthralled with history and learned so much. Some of my favorites of Washington DC was Mount Vernon, the Ford Theater, and the National Mall.
Then we headed off to Philadelphia. After a night stay, we went downtown. The tour guides were fantastic, showing us around Carpenter’s Hall, Independence Hall, and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. We also saw the Liberty Bell.
That afternoon we would stop in Amish Country. That was also a treat for my kiddos. They were so intrigued by the life that Amish people lived. We all bought quillows for souvenirs and to this day, I have about 12 of them. But the best memory I have of Amish Country – I had the most amazing pretzel in my life. I am sure it was over a thousand calories because it was dripping with butter, crisp on the outside, and soft as can be on the inside. I can still taste it in my mind.
Finally, the last leg of our trip was in New York City! We were there only about 23 hours, but we got a lot in – a Broadway play, Times Square, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, New Stock Exchange, and Grand Central Station. For some of the students, the highlight was riding the subway. It was a totally new experience for my Southern Californians.
To this day, I encourage my students to go on the East Coast Trip when they get to 8th grade. It is such an amazing experience. I know for many families, it is too costly. But I hope they have a chance, like my students did. When I had students work really hard to go, I did everything in my power to get donations and help for those kids. I even hit up my family at times for small donations.
Many of my former students tell me how much of that experience impacted them. That just makes my day when I hear them say that!
Thanks for stopping by and going down memory lane with me!