Three things I learned in colonial Williamsburg

Last week, the 7th grade made its annual 3-day trek to Jamestown and colonial Williamsburg. As a 7th grade advisor, I get to go for free. There is the small matter of supervising 24/7, but hey… I knew the job was dangerous when I took it.

Here are the top three things I learned, in no particular order:

1. Our kids are awesome. I actually had a tour guide come up to me and shake my hand, saying “You’ve done a fantastic job with these kids. They are polite, respectful, and engaged”. It was kind of embarrassing, since I know I can’t claim sole credit! But unsolicited compliments like that from people who work every day with school groups is nice.

2. There is such a thing as a sugar high. I saw it in action. Normally normal 7th-graders were transformed before our eyes into crack  sugar addicts, thanks to the candy store in Merchant Square, and the cotton candy machine at the Golden Corral. Yow! Maybe a little bit of sugar in the diet would help lessen the effect of forbidden fruit.

3. Slavery doesn’t get mentioned much. Colonial Williamsburg is sometimes referred to as Colonial Disneyland for Adults, a land where everything is awesome and nothing unpleasant intrudes. I know they are working on correcting this, but I saw very little evidence of that in our tour. My eye-opening moment came a couple of years ago when I learned that the population of Williamsburg in 1774 was about 50% slave. Half the population wasn’t represented much.

Having said that, it’s always a great trip, and the students learned so much that that surely beats reading it out of a book.

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