This incident left me wondering whether kids' behavior has become more oppositional and defiant or whether I have just lost my patience in dealing with it. Or both. And I'm not talking about kids who have emotional issues that affect their behavior, are truly ADHD, are autistic, etc. These kids I can still deal with just fine. I'm talking about your run of the mill brats. They seem to be getting brattier. And to have more of a sense of entitlement. These are the kids that seem to think that rules don't apply to them, that they are somehow special.
Then there are the parents (typically the dads) who fancy themselves "nature boys." They seem to think that the field trip is for them and forget that they have kids to chaperone. I often find these dads wandering around the exhibit room, chatting with the Nature Center staff, or asking me dozens of questions unrelated to the field-trip. While I appreciate the interest these guys take in the natural environment, I find that I frequently have to redirect them to the task at hand. "It looks like your group may be wandering into that patch of poison ivy over there instead of looking for woodpecker holes in trees. You may want to try to bring them back to the group." (Translation: Wake up, jackwagon!)
I find that I am often tempted to take two of these parents' heads and bash them together. My theory is that the hollow sound it might make may be akin to the sound of the redbellied woodpecker pecking holes in the rotting trees to search for insects. I could have the children listen as I smashed their oblivious parents' empty heads together and compared the sound to a woodpecker. Violent impulses relieved and teachable moment. Now, that's a good field trip!