As a teacher in Poland, we do things that I never would’ve done in the US. Like, for instance, I took 26 first and second graders on a 3-day, 2-night field trip a few weeks ago. Imagine trying to get the permission slips and insurance for that many 6, 7, and 8 years olds without their parents in the States… yeah, not gonna happen.
But in Poland, sure! Let’s take these kids to the mountains!
So, some background: We took the same kids on a 2-day, 1-night field trip in September. And it was a disaster. I mean, sure, the kids had some fun, but for the teachers, it was a nightmare. A bunch of kids got motion sickness and threw up on the bus, then one girl kept throwing up and we deducted that it was the stomach flu. All the teachers had to take 2 hour shifts sitting in the hallway of our hotel at night, because who knows who will be coming in and out. Then it turned out that hotel had bed bugs. Then right before our last activity, one of the kids who had motion sickness the whole day before bumped his head on a metal overhang and had quite a large, bleeding gash on his head and we said fuck it, we’re coming home early.
That was our last field trip, so we expected the worst.
But this trip went much smoother. We stayed at a beautiful B&B. No one got bitten by bed bugs. No one threw up. Only one student bumped his head, but there was no bleeding.
Sure, the kids complained every time they had to walk more than 15 minutes, especially when hills were involved, but the secret about kids is that they complain no matter what. When we got to a rest point and told them they could play, suddenly they weren’t so tired any more. Plus, the mountains in this part of Poland are full of silver mines, and kids love trying to collect every rock with even flecks of silver in it. (Seriously, I had to convince children to leave about 20 kilos worth of rocks on the mountain instead of taking them home.)
We were in the Owl Mountains, about an hour and a half outside of Wrocław. It’s popular for hiking and outdoors activities in the spring and summer, and has tons of ski resorts for the winter. There are also numerous castles, palaces, old mines, and ropes courses for additional adventures. Most visitors are Polish, but you can surely find at least a few people who speak English or German to help you out.
Even over the sounds of 26 children yelling, I’d still recommend exploring this region of Poland. That sort of reference has to carry some weight.