Sept 13 2014

I got directions to the zoo from Kat. We were taking our “Minions Class” there for their zoo unit. I arrived at the zoo entrance with plenty of time to spare, found a spot where I’d be visible, and then stood, waiting for Kat or the kids to start showing up.

Nothing, nothing, nothing, finally my phone rang, “I’m at the park entrance” Kat’s voice informed me from the other end. “I’m at the entrance too!” Apparently there were two entrances to the zoo, and Kat had given me directions to the wrong one. I found a cab, called Kat back, handed the phone to the driver, and soon we were on our way around the park to the main entrance where I met the entire group of kids and adults. I apologized to the parents, but none of them seemed concerned, and soon I was mobbed by excited students, so I was no longer able to worry about it.

Something very curious happened with my student, Happy. She is a fantastic student in class, and she has a good handle on the phrases and vocabulary we’ve been learning despite the fact that she joined our group late, and had some catch up to do. Suddenly this fantastic, bright, well behaved child became a nightmare. Her parents doted on her every step of the way, and told me “She doesn’t understand” even when I asked her to say her name, or asked her what animal she saw.

Honey also started acting funny, but he was a little more amusing. He turned into a monkey and tried to climb everything. I was alone in my attempt to get him off of the lion statues head. Kat and Honey’s mom did not seem too concerned, but when he toppled head first into a bush by the elephant exhibit I felt my concern was well founded. 

We stopped for a snack break halfway through and let the kids play on the play structure. It had already been two hours, and we still had two more to go. We had some young kids in the mix and everyone was getting tired and a little touchy. When it was time to gather our group we had trouble getting everyone away from the playground, “Wave the dollars above your head,” I said to Kat, who pulled out a big stack of “Happy English dollars” that we give to the children as a prize and waved them in the air. It worked like a charm! Soon we had all of the kids running in a mob after Kat who took off with the fake money across the field. She did a handoff, passing me the wad. Those kids could run! A bunch of them latched on to my backpack, so I let it slide off of my shoulders, and left it behind with the children who seemed to think this was hilarious.

The zoo was a lot of fun, but it was also a tough visit. The conditions the animals were living in were often very depressing. Many of the exhibits were bare, and full of garbage, but the worst to see were the pigs in the petting zoo. They were crammed together, two in a cage that would have been too small for one of them. They could move nothing but their snout.

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