My Zoo Outfit
Countdown to the Fieldtrip:
At first, I couldn’t believe it when I heard that the majority of the class I’ve been working with, as a Special Ed Instructional Assistant at Leo Politi Elementary School (LAUSD), had never been to the zoo. How could that be when going there is such a childhood rite of passage? When I was their age, in Kindergarten through Second Grade, my mother insisted on taking my brother and I to the L.A. Zoo, nearby Griffith Park, Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus, Farmer’s Market and The La Brea Tar Pits.
“For the kids around here, it’s a totally new thing, to go to the zoo,” said one of my co-workers. “They aren’t used to going to places like that.”
But this new generation, where constantly diddling on cell phones, wearing leggings as pants, and dropping out of school are the norm, the zoo is a foreign concept. As a representative of the baby boomer generation, whose childhood was far from perfect, I still felt it was my duty to share this one experience with them.
You Can Never Ask Too Many Questions
The L.A. Zoo
“Can we pet the animals?,” asked one of the students before our fieldtrip.
Following a series of obstacles, our class finally started the countdown to our trip at the end of March. To prepare the students, for what they were about to see, I bought an animal board book at the Mar Vista Library Book Sale and gave it to them to read and study.
“Will we see spiders and snakes there?” asked a student one morning.
“Can we pet the animals?” another one asked.
The questions were endless, with the book becoming old before its time, from beloved overuse and rough treatment.
Dressing Comfortably for the Big Day
Simultaneous to the field trip, I had to do an assignment for my FSH 628: Mobile & Social Media Journalism class on “Social Listening”. I chose the internet feedback about the Hunter x Target collaboration. For my research, I went to check it out, as an event at the Target on LaCienega and Jefferson. There were plenty of clothes available, in my size and style, so I ended up purchasing quite a bit.
The first outfit I wore was perfect for our big field trip day- a red, pink and white striped windbreaker over a white and orange sleeveless top and orange and white track pants, accessorized with a pink sun visor, cream cat-eye framed shades, white Levi’s sneakers, a white and pink flamingo print tote and an orange leather hobo bag.
In addition to walking long distances, at the zoo while looking at the animals, I also had to help maneuver one of our student in a wheelchair when she needed to sit down, making comfort a necessity.
“We didn’t get to see the hippos and the leopards!” some of the students complained at the end of our trip.
Walking in a well-organized, but a curious and active group, we saw the meerkats, a swan, ducks, lions, giraffes, snakes, spiders, exotic birds, turtles, tortoises, alligators, gorillas, chimpanzees and more.
“We didn’t get to see the hippos and the leopards!” some of the students complained at the end of our trip. “You’ll have to visit them the next time you come back, with your families,” I told them.
While waiting for the tram, after our lunch break, I met a little boy wearing a Junior Zookeeper outfit, complete with binoculars. He jumped up on the seating area and insisted on waiting for the tram despite his mother’s protests.
“He really knows what to do, and where to go at the zoo, doesn’t he?,” I said. “Oh yes, he’s been coming here ever since he was little,” his mother said. “We have a membership, so we can come any time we want, and stay for an hour or longer. It’s a great place to hang out.”
“It was the best day of my life,” said one of the teachers who went with us to the zoo.
Leo Politi Elementary School
A few days after the trip, I asked one of the teachers whose class went too, did he enjoy himself. “It was the best day of my life,” he said. I hope that’s how our students felt too, and it joins their other happy memories from this time.