I really do feel like I have the best job in the world.
Today, I got to take 48 Montessori students (1st, 2nd and 3rd grade) on a 3 mile hike to a beautiful vista at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.
While driving there, some of the usual environmental concerns popped into my head.
'Would it be more efficient for us to have newer vehicles? Or is it good that we maintain our old vehicles so that we don't have to use new resources?'
'Could the kids get the same experience from something closer, cutting our driving time and fuel use down?'
Overall, I think that we do a pretty good low-impact outdoor experience, and that impact is made up for by the positive impact I see our excursions having on the students.
The day was full of funny things kids say, like "Aw, how sad, some people died" as we passed the cemetery, or one kid telling the other that he is not a mature 2nd grader. And there were some tears as we neared the top and they couldn't get their little legs to lift up those big rocks anymore. But the highlight for me came from about .5 mile into the hike. We were stopped at an oak tree, examining the acorns, when I pulled off a gall
It was her who had the most struggles going up, and despite the fact that sometimes she said she was a "tough cookie" as she took another step, other times she said she couldn't make it.
I made a deal that if she made it to the top, I'd carry her backpack back down....and guess what? She made it to the top. She was so proud, she carried her own backpack down (as I suspected she would).
Her mother thanked me for my "interaction with [her] daughter" at the end of the trip, but the pleasure was all mine. Even if she was the only kid to feel like this was a wonderful experience, and that hiking and exploring and breathing fresh air is something that she wants to do regularly, I feel we succeeded. But I imagine we sparked a bit of interest. And we get to take the group out again in October.