How To Chaperone A Field Trip

May 21st, 2012

So, you just signed up to chaperone the class field trip and now you’re a little worried. After all, shepherding 30 2nd graders through a crowded Planetarium is no small feat, is it? But fear not, Sucker! Because I’ve put together a list of wise, helpful tips that every parent needs to know before they step on that bus. Please follow it closely, remain calm and note that I take no responsibility for any increase in medication after your big day. Here we go!

By Wendi Aarons, Room Mom

Step 1: Fake Your Own Death

Sure you said you’d commandeer the 2nd grade zoo trip, but that doesn’t mean you actually will commandeer the 2nd grade zoo trip. Especially if you’re dead! Simply update your Facebook status the morning of the event with one of the following:

“Going to see how far I can lean over the deck of this cruise ship!” or

“Hope the fellas down here at the heroin den don’t mind me stealing their stash!”

Then close the curtains, turn off the lights and chill, baby! You can tell everyone you’re still alive after the kids come home and/or the insurance money pours in. Smart!

Step 2: Arrive in Style

If you’re not savvy enough to talk your way out of the field trip, don’t worry. You can still salvage the day by telling the teacher that you’ll meet the class there. Then plant your sweet ass in a chauffeured stretch limo (paid for with the class’ snack fund) and swill cheap champagne while you wave at the other parents who are all stuck on the yellow bus like juvenile offenders on a work release trip. In no time flat, you’ll arrive refreshed, relaxed and just drunk enough to actually enjoy watching a pack of 6-year-olds learn the life cycle of a butterfly! Hic!

(Note: Standing up in the limo’s moon-roof and flipping the bus the bird is fine, but really—why gild the lily?)

Step 3: Take Down the Toughest Guy In the Yard

Much like a convicted murderer’s first day at a SuperMax prison, a field trip chaperone needs to show the class he/she is not to be f*&#ed with. Therefore, immediately find the class discipline problem—usually the kid wearing a Twilight t-shirt and Heelys—and give him a major wedgie attack. (Non-atomic is preferred.) Sure this may get you arrested and/or sent to prison yourself later, but for the two hours the field trip lasts, you’re golden, baby. No kid in your purview will even think about asking you to help them go to the mothafokkin potty after you’ve just been to the mothafokkin potty ten mothafokkin times.

Step 4: Undermine Any and All Learning 

We all know that field trips are a total waste of time because children learn best when chained to their desks listening to a teacher drone on about multiplication tables. After all, how does watching a pioneer woman make candles prepare our students for their future factory jobs? Hahaha! But the fact is, it’s a chaperone’s responsibility to squash any “knowledge” that may arise during the trip by putting all smart people in their place. For example:

Paleontologist: “Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago.”

Firefighter: “We use these hoses to put out fires.”

Marine biologist: “Fish come in many colors.”
Chaperone: “RACIST.”

If the kids learn absolutely nothing from their field trip and come home more confused than ever, then job well done, you! American manufacturing thanks you.

Step 5: Encourage Parent In-Fighting

AKA “School Volunteering 101.” If there are other parents chaperoning the trip along with you, simply tell one of them that other one said she has a face like Newt Gingrinch’s ass. Then go hang out in the gift shop while the kids watch the pissed off moms whack each other to a pulp with chilled juice boxes.Trust me, nobody will even remember you’re there!

(Note: If you don’t already know this tip, you really shouldn’t even call yourself a parent.)

Step 6: Use Fear and Loathing To Your Advantage

The biggest challenge for a chaperone is making sure that kids don’t run away from the group. However, because the obvious solutions to this problem—cattle prod, Taser, Korean-style street fighting—are now frowned upon, you must control your little charges in other ways. The Manchurian Candidate offers a lot of helpful tips, but Lord knows implanting an entire class of 3rd graders with mind-controlling microchips can be quite tedious. Therefore, announce that an evil hag spirit will attack them if they lose their buddy, then show them a picture of your face without make-up as proof. Those little scamps will hold hands so tightly their circulation will be cut off!

Step 7: Take a Lunch Break

One of the perks of being a chaperone is that you’re in charge of transporting everyone’s packed lunches. This means that you can rifle through every single one of the children’s bags and cherry pick what you want. Twenty slightly warm peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that carry a high risk of salmonella poisoning? Don’t mind if I do! And if the kids get hungry, well, tell them it’s high time they learned about edible plants and twigs.

(Note: Save time and avoid lunches packed by the healthy moms. It’s completely impossible to eat your feelings with organic carrots.)

Step 8: Make Your Kid the Teacher’s Pet

One of the only perks of being a chaperone is unlimited face time with the teacher. But don’t be obvious and loudly sing your child’s praises. Rather, build your kid up in her eyes by saying things like, “Sorry we keep falling behind. I just assumed everyone in the class knew how to read map coordinates like my son’s been doing since toddlerhood. Hey, does Best Reader Tyler always smell like ferret pee?” If you play your cards right, your kid will be Line Leader for the rest of the school year, mama!

Step 9: Bribe the Bus Driver

If you’ve somehow screwed the pooch and find yourself riding home on the bus with a gaggle of tired and cranky kids, do yourself a favor and slip the driver a few twenties to “get lost” and somehow end up at an Indian casino. Tell the teacher that you’re going to just run inside to get directions, then stagger out a few hours later with gin on your breath, poker chips in your pants and the boss new nickname “Chief Saggy Boobs.”

If anyone complains, loudly accuse them of not respecting American history and tribal rights, then pass out under a seat until the next morning.

Step 10: Do Not Repeat The Same Mistake

If you followed Tips 1-9 to the letter, chances are the state education board will never allow you to get within 200 feet of another field trip. You’re welcome. But if for some reason you’re once again pressured to chaperone, my advice can be boiled down to the following two words: Face Tattoo. Sure, it might be a little embarrassing to have your forehead inked up like a Rorschach test for the rest of your life, but just remember one thing: Mike Tyson will never, ever be a field trip chaperone.

But if he was, I’d still call him “Sucker.”

Entry Filed under: Uncategorized


Add your own

  • 1. tracy@sellabitmum  |  May 21st, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Oh these are good tips. I never take the bus. Ever.

    Best field trip ever – we went to a Nature Center and were suppose to hike for like five hours or something totally ridiculous..and of course it was cold and rainy. My group was a bunch of wimpy girls(YAY, LIKE ME!!)who didn’t like to be cold or wet so we sat in the visitor center coffee shop almost the whole time drinking and eating our weight in hot chocolate and cookies. It was fabulous!

    Next time let’s just take a field trip to Starbucks!

  • 2. Jessica  |  May 21st, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Hilarious. Riding the bus multiplies the miserable factor of any field trip by a million and why are they so boring? I’m always looking around wondering if the rest of the moms are just pretending to be interesting in whatever we are “learning.”

  • 3. mommylisa  |  May 21st, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    I must be weird. I like field trips.

  • 4. hokgardner  |  May 21st, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I wish I had these tips two weeks ago.

  • 5. Rainyday  |  May 21st, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    So timely! I’m headed to the wildlife park the with 5 & 6 year olds on Wednesday.

  • 6. Anonymousmomma  |  May 21st, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    But really, they need to start teaching the types of edible plants, bugs & twigs earlier.

  • 7. Expat Mum  |  May 21st, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I am chaperoning 18 3rd graders to the Chicago Historical Society on Thursday. Must print this off.

  • 8. Pish Posh  |  May 21st, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    Omg you got me to LLOL – literally laugh out loud. That’s not easy to do!! I was reading, thinking, oh well okay this is going to be about camp. And then I got to “fake your own death” and I knew KNEW I was going to love this.

    Oh man this is brilliant. You need to enter this into (today) or Finding the Funny (Wed) at

  • 9. Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes  |  May 22nd, 2012 at 6:01 am

    And here I was thinking of I would need to offer sexual favors to my eldest’s teacher to get out of chaperoning the next field trip. So fear not, if you read a tweet of me next week along the line of ‘red wire or blue wire…#confussed’ I’m just trying to get out that trip to the farm.
    If that doesn’t work, I’m going with the favors, teach is a really hot blonde…

  • 10. Alexandra  |  May 22nd, 2012 at 6:23 am

    I love this.

    And I love Sellabitmum’s idea of a field trip.

    But most of all: I love how you hate these things as much as I do. I am always astounded at how naught and DEAF to my shouts the kids are.

    When did kids start fearing authority? Was it all that self esteem a trophy for showing up bs?

  • 11. Ann  |  May 22nd, 2012 at 7:50 am

    This is your spec script for “Throw Mama From The School Bus” isn’t it.

  • 12. sarah  |  May 22nd, 2012 at 8:01 am

    You know what is worse than being a chaperone on a field trip? Being suckered into going on a field trip as a substitute teacher. Teachers don’t even want to go on field trips. I once had to take a kindergarten class to a SWAMP. I was wearing maryjanes. It was the worst day of my life.

  • 13. Shell  |  May 22nd, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Here’s my easy get-out-of-field-trip-jail-free card: in our schools, you have to be fingerprinted in order to be in charge of any child who is not your own on a field trip. I “can never find the time” to get this done. So, I can go on a field trip and make my kids happy, but I’m not allowed to be in charge of any other kids, in case I’m some sort of criminal.

  • 14. Poppy  |  May 22nd, 2012 at 8:15 am

    How timely, I leave in 2 hours for the second grade field trip. It may be too late for the limo, but I may spike my latte to deal with the bus ride. Thanks for the inspiration, my wet willy finger is at the ready.

  • 15. Becky  |  May 22nd, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I’m laminating this list and keeping it with me at all times.

  • 16. Sue  |  May 22nd, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Does this post have a converter app? Really come in handy for those social situations I agree to/regret when drinking. Like next Sunday.

  • 17. dusty earth mother  |  May 23rd, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Bringing a copy of this to my PTA meeting.

  • 18. anymommy  |  May 23rd, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Shudder. I might fake my own death now and get myself removed from the school list.

  • 19. Carinn Jade  |  May 24th, 2012 at 8:05 am

    I have a cramp in my side from laughing/reading this post! Does that mean I am woefully out of shape or you are simply hysterical? Maybe both.

  • 20. Peggy  |  May 24th, 2012 at 8:31 am

    With all of your field trip free spare time, I expect a sassy “five ways to say no” post from you in the future!

  • 21. The Flying Chalupa  |  May 24th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Love the tips. The beautiful thing about having a baby is that it gets you out of EVERYTHING.

    Except staying at home and changing diapers.


  • 22. julie gardner  |  May 24th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    My best chaperoning experience happened when I took hundreds of high school sophomores to the Museum of Tolerance.

    Having been warned about their very strict safety policies, I went over lists of what the kids could not do inside, told them what they could not bring, threatened their lives etc.

    Imagine my embarrassment when I had to be removed from the premises because of a tiny Swiss army knife I had on my key-chain.

    Don’t worry. My principal sprung me out of MOT jail. But not before I was scared straight, I can tell you that.

    p.s. I can’t believe you know what Newt’s ass looks like, too. He told me I was special…

  • 23. Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him  |  May 24th, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    I just signed up for a pumpkin patch field trip. JESUS.

  • 24. Erin@MommyontheSpot  |  May 26th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I could have totally used this on the farm field trip in which kids where given over an hour of free time. How did they spend that time? Looking at animals? Not if they had their way. Much more fun to throw rocks and sand up the slide as someone was sliding down. Next time, I will be following this handy guide.

  • 25. Kellie  |  May 26th, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Wow, you must get invited to go on all the field trips…

  • 26. Marinka  |  May 29th, 2012 at 2:58 am

    I hate how there’s never a field (full of poppies) during field trips. That’s false advertising as far as I’m concerned and I think it makes sense to ask the teacher for your money back.

  • 27. Tracy Beckerman  |  May 29th, 2012 at 5:23 am

    This is HI-larious. Gratefully, my kids are in HS and do not require chaperones for their field trips anymore, although this is probably the time when they would need them the most. “Sorry guys, no bongs on the bus.” “Yes, George Washington slept here, but you and your skanky girlfriend may not.”

  • 28. Astra  |  May 29th, 2012 at 5:40 am

    Truly precious. Thank you. My daughter just volunteered for her spring “pond study” field trip – my first field trip in many years. Thanks to you, she’ll soon be sorry :)

  • 29. Kristine  |  May 31st, 2012 at 3:41 am

    Oh my gawd. I just read my second post ever (of yours). I don’t know what to do. It’s 11:40 in Hawaii. I need to go to bed. I want to read more. I need to feed the children in the morning. I want to read more. They ate today, do they have to eat tomorrow?

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