- Permission slips You told them they would need one numerous times, you told their parents they would need one numerous times and you emailed/texted/posted a letter saying exactly the same thing. And yet, here they are: excited, grinning with enthusiasm, all their kit ready and not a single persmission slip in sight.
- The packed lunches You've spent 30 minutes travelling in a 1970s living room (complete with curtains) masquerading as a coach, and for some reason every child has already eaten their lunch. Quite why school trips cause insatiable hunger, no one knows, but what you do know is that your carefully prepared meal is going to be shared into 30 equal parts.
- The lost items Yes, they’ve had the spiel about the school not being responsible for lost or stolen items, but guess who is running back through every exhibition room searching for a missing iPod? Wide-eyed and frantic, you interrogate anyone who looks vaguely official, only to eventually get a call form another teacher to say that the iPod has been found. At the bottom of the child's bag…
- The vomit Excessive excitement, excessive sugar, excessive tiredness and excessively aggressive driving by the coach driver. There is no combination more accomplished at causing vomit than that. You reach for the sick bag, but you know it's too late. The children in the seats behind scramble for safety as the stream of sick winds slowly towards the back of the coach.
- Missing parents You begin to think that, this time, things are going to be different. But then you spot them: the one student stood on their own. A phone call, some swearing, and then a screech into the car park. The frantric parent loads the student into the car with profuse apologies and protests that they are "sure it said 5pm not 4pm". And with that, you finally head home, vowing never to do this again but knowing full well you'll be repeating the process next term.
You are about as prepared as you can possibly be for the upcoming educational excursion and you have let yourself grow complacent: what could possibly go wrong? Erm, quite a lot, actually...
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