6:30am: Roll out of bed and wake children. It’s a hot day, and our room STINKS of camembert. Roommate orders me to put camembert on balcony.
7:15am: Breakfast. We remind children that we will be doing a talent show on the beach tonight and they should organise themselves to compete.
8:15am: Head out to bus to drive to Bellewaerde theme park, in Belgium. Children are very excited. I fall asleep with my mouth open on the way there and am extremely embarrassed when I awake. Roommate has abandoned me, presumably because she didn’t want to get drooled on.
10am: Arrive at theme park late because bus driver got lost. Children can only see some smaller rides and think it’s for babies.
10:20am: Walking towards meeting point to release children and get tapped on the shoulder. I turn around to find a man has put a bird on my shoulder and is taking photos of me. I’m freaked out and hope the bird does not poop on me.
10:40am: Head to café for a cold drink. It’s hot, and the two male staff disappear to find a shady spot. We sit and spend an enjoyable hour sunning ourselves and chatting about all manner of things. School trips really bring staff together.
12pm: Male staff want to go on water rides. I hate water rides but everyone else seems up for it and the kids are really excited so I agree to go on one. A colleague lends me his coat and I spend the entire ride with the coat over my head, aside from when one child shouts ‘smile for the camera’ and I pop up with a cheesy grin. I am not wet in the slightest when we get off.
12:30pm: After watching the male staff go on the hideous-looking log flume and get drenched, we head to the pirate ship. I hate pirate ships so I steer clear, but I do go on the Totem-pole ride with some of the students, which they absolutely love! School trips are absolutely one of the best things about teaching, and they make students see you in such a different light.
4pm: Assemble group and head back to bus. The rest of the afternoon was uneventful, aside from a delicious Belgian waffle!
4:10pm: Set off through Belgium, to the sounds of a guided tour of war cemeteries from the bus driver. Turns out while we were at the theme park, he went on a tour with the bus and now considers himself an expert.
6pm: Arrive back at hotel. Children are exhausted and the weather has become chilly. We eat dinner (we always take bets on what the last evening meal will be and it’s usually burger and chips, but tonight was meatballs) and head out to the beach at 8pm.
8:35pm: students strike up a kick around with some local boys, not speaking a word of each other’s languages despite having had a year of me speaking to them in nothing but French.
8:45pm: male colleague joins game and turns into football coach of the year. The game gets out of control and we are encouraged to show some support. I actually hate football.
9:15pm: We round up children to perform in a talent show. Some rather disappointing talent acts, including one ‘comedy sketch’ which involved a boy pulling down his trousers and me seeing a sight that will remain etched in my brain for all eternity. All I can say is, thank goodness he put on underwear that morning.
9:40pm: Head to the carousel. It is not freezing, and the female staff decide to go on the carousel to distract ourselves. I ask a student to take a photo of us on the carousel, and instead of standing still and waiting for us to come round again she starts running frantically around the outside of the carousel trying to get a shot. The picture that she does eventually get is so hilarious because we are just falling off the horses laughing.
10pm: Head back to hotel. Roommate and I stay up again until 2am chatting.
*TO BE CONTINUED*