Posted by: COSI | May 22, 2009

Working the line

Buses @COSIAnyone in teaching or museum work knows that spring is field trip season. Rows of yellow buses line up outside museums around the country. It’s no different at COSI.

But how do you quickly and effectively handle over 20 groups in multiple buses back to back disgorging hundreds of students, their teachers, chaperones and lunches? You have what we call “surge duty.”
All staff who are not frontline guest service are committed to helping out during these times. This week was one of my times to help. I happened to pick the 2100+ school student day to get my initiation to surge duty with schools 😉

Cart wlunchesThe last time I was involved with a field trip in as intimate a fashion I was a teacher with a busload of students on the other side of this relationship—and that was over 25 years ago. But didn’t look like the dynamics have changed much.

I was impressed that students and teachers were traveling as far as from Kentucky and Indianapolis to come to COSI—requiring 2-3 hours of travel—and a great need for bathrooms as soon as they got here! Found myself doing a lot of describing the closest bathrooms to various doors for the various groups as we worked to accommodate that many of them came within 45 minutes of each other.

So it was fun but certainly hard work loading lunches onto small carts then reloading and taking lunches on big carts into the lunchroom for the schools. The morning also took me back mentally to when I was the classroom fieldtrip leader. Reminded me how much work it is for the teacher to pull off the trip and introduced me to how demanding it is on team members to assure that all the school kids and teachers are efficiently greeted and organized for a great day here. It’s a good partnership though and I look forward to my next surge duty, but today I’ll take the easier route and prepare for a board meeting instead! 😉

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