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10 May 2012 @ 08:17 pm
Talk about the school tour from Hell!  
This morning I just had the worst school group EVER.

First of all, the kids were too young.  Our tour is geared towards sixth graders, but these guys were little first and second graders.  Now, this doesn't have to be a problem - if the kids are mature and well-behaved, I can usually tailor the talks to a younger audience.  But these children were MONSTERS.  They were very unruly.  They ran all over the place, stomping as they went.  They were yelling at each other across the galleries.  Whenever I tried to calm them down or request that they please walk in the building, they ignored me.  It got bad enough that the Museum Director had to come out and talk to them, which looked bad for me - although they didn't listen to her, either.

I was getting no support from the parents or the teachers, which I think was a large part of the problem.  Parents would interrupt me in the middle of a talk with an off-topic question, or they'd "correct" me with their own erroneous information.   One of our rules is that an adult must accompany a kid to the bathroom, they can take no more than four children at a time (there's only three stalls, so there isn't room for more) and only one group can leave a tour at a time.  I had people taking off willy-nilly, sometimes with kids and sometimes without.

Even worse, parents would blatantly ignore me when I told them directly not to do something.  A woman wanted to "backtrack" to one of the galleries that we finished with, and I told her and a teacher that was with her that since she was part of a group, she needed to say with the others because we had other tours following them.  She huffed and puffed and declared that she'd paid an admission so she would do what she wanted, and left with her kid.  I turned to the teacher and she just shrugged.

Just to make this into a complete nightmare, the students had brought flashlights for the tomb tour. I don't know who gave them permission to have them, but if anyone ever tries to bring flashlights on a tour I lead again, I'll walk off the job.  The kids were constantly shining the lights in my eyes, and they were so busy talking to each other that they didn't listen to a word I said. Again the teachers did nothing to enforce discipline.

Afterward, though, the teacher had the gall to complain that I hadn't "interacted" enough with the kids. "They've been studying Egypt since February," she whined, "and they wanted to share what they've learned!"  I told her that we had a rather tight schedule, and unfortunately we didn't have time for extended sharing time.  She then told me I could have looked at the schedule to find ways...  I just turned and walked away as she was speaking, because if I'd stayed I would have exploded at her:

"IF YOU HAD CONTROL OVER YOUR F*CKING BRATTY STUDENTS THAN MAYBE WE COULD HAVE HAD YOUR F*CKING INTERACTIONS INSTEAD OF CHASING THEM ALL OVER THE GALLERY FOR TEN MINUTES EVERY TIME WE NEEDED TO CHANGE ROOMS!"

Luckily, when I spoke to the Museum Director later she told me that she knew that those guys were horrible and I had done the best I could.