Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why do people like going to the zoo again?

Apparently the elephants at the Detroit zoo were sold. I did not know this. And kept wondering where the heck the elephants were. Isn't weird? How can you have a zoo without elephants?

I highly doubt people go to the zoo for the animals anymore though.

I went to get away from the school. My kids went to eat their lunch. When we first got there, one would assume that they would list off the animals they wanted to see first. Nope. All the kids wanted to eat. Other kids went to buy souvernirs. Some went to see a 3-D movie. No one was too excited about the animals. While walking around the zoo, they were excited to see water fountains that sprayed misty water and sprinklers that they could run through. There was a playground inside of the zoo, all the kids kept asking if they could go there.

We had 77 students. 15 adults. And one zoo.

There were five kids per adult.I purposefully put other students with other adults so I could keep them away from me. I intentionally put two students with me, because I wanted to keep a close eye on them.

There was a kid, in my group, who kept complaing about everything. All five of my kids complained. I understand that. Heck,
I complained. It was a long day and we were tired and hot and hungry. But this kid, he takes the cake. Every. single. comment from him was a complaint. "Why do we have to go here?" "Why is it so hot?" "When are we going to eat?" "Can we eat now?" "Can we eat now?" "How about now?" And just like most of the kids from our school, it didnt seem like he came to the zoo to see animals.

I put him in my group specifically because he frequently misbehaves. Before the field trip, there were stipulations that each child had to meet. I was rooting for this kid. All of the administration team was rooting for this kid. There were days when I wanted to take the field trip away from him. But I truly did want him to go because he has never been on a field trip before. He has had so many behavior issues last year in Kindergarten and apparently he is not as bad this year as he was last. It made me sad that some of my kids have never gone on a field trip, so I tried really hard for him to go. And he did! He went to the zoo. Complained. But was still able to go. I'll take it.

There was another girl in my group who really frustrated me. She's one of my sweet and quiet students. During our time at the zoo, though, she kept focusing and fixating herself on the randomest stuff. She saw my black and white printed shoes, towards the middle of the day, and commented on them over and over and over. And then she became fixated on this strawberry red frog that she really wanted to see. I didnt know where exactly to find it, I'm assuming it was in the amphibian area but we had already gone there and I didnt want to go back. And then she commented on my purse for about five minutes. Then tried to catch every single pollen she saw and tell me about it. And lastly, out of all the animals, bugs, insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals there was at the zoo, she was not interested in any of them. Instead she found a teeny tiny green bug, the size of a period (.) and continuously commented on it.

One other thing, all the animals were hiding. I dont know if it was because of the excruciatingly hot temperatures or if they just couldn't be bothered with entertaining humans, but a lot of them were MIA. At one point, my group and I were searching for the gorillas in the gorilla area. One girl stood on the fence to get a better look. She began shouting, "I see them! I see them! I see the gorillas!!!.................Oh wait....umm.....those are....just....people. Never mind." Lol.

Anyways, I told the kids in my group that if they went the whole day without complaining, I would buy them cotton candy.

Because I ended up complaining too, I decided to buy them cotton candy because they were good sports throughout the day.

And just like everything else that day, they were more excited about the cotton candy then the zoo.


Carol said...

Clicked on this site because I thought I might learn something. Wow! Did I. I hope you are not a teacher. The ignorance and lack of caring is overwhelming in this blog. Maybe if the children were taught properly, they would not have been rewarded for their whining with food that you complained about - 'all they wanted to do was eat'. If they were taught about animals, perhaps they would have appreciated seeing them. No interest was shown to the little girls in her interest of frogs and bugs. Probably a very intellegent and interesting child. MOST IMPORTANT: The animals there are not there to entertain you. You entertain yourself by enjoying seeing the animals and learning about them. And of course you didn't see all of the signs saying 'keep off the fence'. Your negative attitude is very disturbing. Wish that I could take these children to the zoo, or park, lake or - or ... Children don't usually whine when with me!!!! We enjoy each other and what we are seeing.

Rationality said...

Hi CA;

I opened the zoo's website, it looks amazing.
Well, teaching children needs patience and responsibility, it's not an easy job and it's boring as well.
Dunno but what you said is not ignorance as Carol said. Sounds all the kids are familiar with the zoo so there is nothing new to them hence they are not really excited to see the animals right there. Besides the weather was hot so all the factors are against you and your kids that’s why they kept complain all the day without having fun.
Thanks for sharing us your day there.
Have a good day

Constructive Attitude said...


I think that you misinterpreted a majority of the things that I mentioned. Obviously you have never been to Symphonic Discord and have never read my other posts. Yes, much to your dismay, I AM indeed a teacher. I am a first year teacher and this is my first class. If you were to read my other posts (which you obviously did not) you will see that as a first year teacher, a lot of the things that I do is complain about my job and talk about how crappy of a teacher I am and how annoying my students are. But I do it all in fun through sarcasm and silly stories that I usually tend to exaggerate. This is a blog where I feel I can express my true feelings and explain the "other" side of teaching. The part where a lot of "non teachers" don't know about. I have read many blogs where teachers talk about their students in various perspectives. And that is their free will. They can write about whatever the heck they want. In MY posts I like to talk about how I really feel because being a teacher is not always going to be positive. There are times, when, as a teacher, you get frustrated and you need to vent. That's what I like to do. My relationship with my students may not be exactly what YOU would label as "caring". But I would beg to differ. You don't know me. And based off of one post, which was written in jest, humor and sarcasm, I don't think that gives you a right to judge me, my students, and definitely not the relationship I have with my students.

I know that my teaching style may need to improve. And I know a lot of people may not agree with it. Many of my friends/family members tell me that. And I know that too. But a first year teacher is not going to be perfect. So you need to understand that.

Lastly, if you REALLY want to take my kids to the lake/zoo/park, you are more than welcome to. Just let me know when and where. I would of course have to do a criminal background check just to make sure that you don't have a criminal history, because of course that's what a "caring" teacher would do.

Have a great day and feel free to stop by again! :)

Muslim Girl said...

I don't think the kids could have appreciated animals even if they were taught about them. These days most kids value things like XBox, Nintendo, and PC games over real things that are fun and interesting like animals and nature, etc.

I for one LOVE the zoo. When I was a senior, I once ditched a trip to a fashion show where we would've been gifted free products and all that good stuff and went on another field trip to the zoo instead. To this day I don't regret my decision :)

EmptyWords said...

The fact that you wanted that one kid to go really badly b/c they had never been on a field trip before shows that you care. Personally, thats how i define caring... And nobodys perfect... at least youre being real and honest with your feelings

I think kids are less interested in the zoo these days because many of them are growing up in the computer age... you have youtube videos and pictures available all the time to see animals and so to see them in person, isnt a big deal anymore. These newer generations are becoming very virtual and its hard for them to appreciate the same things we appreciated when we were kids.

Mrs. Cullen said...


Artistic Logic said...

hmmm despite the bratty kid and his bad behavior you wanted him to go to this field trip
you showed compassion
you did your job
you entertained us
the end.

Almost Close said...

if i were going to the detroit zoo, i would want to be entertained with food and a 3d movie too. maaaan this zoo has gotten so bad over the years :(

Rationality said...

No need to defend yourself it's so obvious that this Carol does not really know how sweet and wise you are.
Your blog is one of my favorite; I enjoy reading your thoughts and diaries all you and your cute friends.
wish Carol's comment does not bother you, he just judge you cuz you unleashed what you felt in that moment in here but that does not mean you are not good.
Girl you are really not Good but excellent:)
Take a deep breath and cheer up.
Have a lovely day

Anastasia said...

The zoo actually makes me sad every time I go. I won't even take my kids.

Facta Non Verba said...

Okay Two things:
- Carol- whoever you are - not cool to show up on someone else's blog and spew hate. Clearly she cares about her students, and is putting the time effort to educate them. Honestly when was the last time you did something so selfless for so little pay? Yeah i though so. Constructive criticism is cool when done right.

- Second - I think the zoo is a static entity and therefore doesn't excite the imagination. It's the kind of place where the animals present have been deprived of freedom, breed in captivity, and then held in pens - their passive about everything. It's depressing really, and their is no dynamism to it. The kids can probably sense that and thats why they can't enjoy it - or i'm just reading why to much philosphy :)

Facta Non Verba said...


Heckety said...

I regret to say but I thououghly enjoyed this post- you hit the whole 'thing' of school trips Right on the head. I'm sitting here snorting and laughing and going 'oh yes', 'oh no', 'oh boy' love eating and I think one of the things they like best about school trips is eating whenever they like during the day, and visiting the souvenir shops!!!

I acconpanied some 8year olds on a trip to an old coal mine a few years ago and half the boys tried to pocket lumps of coal, two girls bought 'cow' salt and pepper shakers, some more bought necklaces, and then they came out, tore around the car-park and half of them climbed into the bus' cargo space to eat lunch early!! Afterwards when I discussed the trip with them they had lots of interesting things to say ( but not on the day), and they all decided they did NOT LIKE mines.

Personally I found it a very rewarding day and thoroughly enjoyed the children's company. You did too, and you'll have learned all sorts about them as individuals that you don't even realise right now, and which will make you even a better teacher next year.

One thing about being a Teacher: you will NEVER STOP LEARNING yourself, and there will always be room for improvement in your own eyes.

And that's my considered opinion!!

Tricia said...

Really interesting. I like the photo, I'm not really a fan of the zoo but I was when i was smaller.
Where have you been?

Constructive Attitude said...

Rationality: Thank you for your sweet comments and kind words. And I'm not going to let that comment bother me. Carol said what she said, and she is entitled to her opinion. And so am I.

Muslim Girl: When I was a kid, I loved the zoo. For some reason, it's more fun when you go with your family and friends. I think. And you ditched a fashion show?? lol

E.W;Mrs.Cullen;A.C. and A.L. : <3 Thanks guys.

Anastasia: Why does the zoo make you sad :(

Facta Non Verba: Thank you very much. And I dont think your reading too much into it. While we were at the zoo this time around, I thought that about the amphibians and some other animals and how they are deprived of freedom. They were in a glass case, and just looked like they were trapped in there. I felt so bad for them.

Tricia: Yeah same here. And I've been kinda busy with school, so I havent really posted =/

Constructive Attitude said...

Heckety: You make me laugh! I appreciated your considered opinion. :) And I wanna say that most of the kids for the zoo field trip, did exactly what your kids at the coal mine did. lol. Did you like the coal mine trip?

Madame Lefty said...

You know I'm a teacher too. I finally had my first year. Did half a year in Corpus Christi.

I think the most frustrating part about teaching is that when you deal with certain student populations and you portray the reality of it then you're automatically a, "bad teacher."

There's no way you can compare students from a prestigious and privileged background to students from a low socioeconomic background and little to no parental guidance or support. The kids that don't come from the best situations are the hardest ones to reach and the most difficult to teach because of all these things that are out of your control. And yes, sometimes their personalities can be grating.

I'm not sure what I'm doing really...complaining about Carol's post, defending you, maybe defending me as I can sometimes see myself in you, but seriously until someone's seen the other side of teaching, people really can't judge and assume the worst about these teachers.

It's always the teacher's fault- it's never the student's, parent's, administration or anyone's and that is so aggravating.

I have secondary level kids and let me tell you, taking them to see a play and opera reminded me a lot of your field trip with the zoo. I should post about it one day.

Anonymous said...

The Detroit Zoo didn't "sell" their elephants. They sent them to a sanctuary in California where they could live better lives.

Elephants are social animals that do best in herds. They also require vast space to roam (they need to walk several miles a day to maintain foot health).

Neither of these requirements can be easily met in a zoo, which can only house one or two elephants, usually in a small space. This is particularly true of northern zoos, where the elephants can't be walked outside in the winter. Unlike some animals that actually live longer in zoos than they would in the wild, elephants in zoos live significantly shorter lives than their wild counterparts.

For more information on the Detroit Zoo's decision to retire its elephants, click on this link

I'd respond to your question about how you can you have a zoo without elephants by asking how could you enjoy seeing elephants in a zoo that isn't able to meet their needs.

MarjnHomer said...

your kids are really funny. :-))

pilgrimchick said...

I run programs for students where I work, and we see teachers bring students all the time. It's great to get a teacher's true perspective on what it is like to take a group of students on a field trip--and I can certainly sympathize. It may have been that this zoo just wasn't a good choice given the circumstances. I know certain kids can be tough, too. I hope it wasn't a total loss for you and the kids, though.

Mark said...

Zoo's are interesting. I think that years ago when we were not as exposed to everything as we are today it was very interesting to go to a zoo to see all of the animals. It was also exciting. In today's world of on demand video, iPods, cell phones and the Internet it is not surprising that zoos seem a little boring. I used to love zoos and as I traveled the world I would often seek out the local zoo. As I got older I found zoos to be rather depressing. I no longer enjoy seeing the animals in captivity.

Mrs. Cullen said...

I agree with you Mark.
I HATE seeing the animals in captivity.

Mrs. Cullen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
somebody out there said...

Funny. I was going to write a post about going to...the Detroit Zoo.

The End.


MaryAnne said...

Dear Carol,

I personally enjoy hearing the funny parts of this trips. I'm sure she was quite caring etc, blah blah blah, but that does not make for an entertaining post. Call my cynical or whatever, but I enjoyed this post. Talk about a real downer, I'd hate to go to the Zoo with Carol: "You watch the absence of animals and LIKE IT!!!! See we're having fun!"