One of the most fun things I have done as a docent this spring at the museum has been to participate in the Age of Exploration program. The program is designed primarily for students in grades four through six; it is very fast-paced and offers numerous hands-on activities. During the program, the students learn about the Native Americans who once inhabited the lower Columbia River region, their dealings with fur traders, and the navigation methods of used by early sea going mariners.
So what makes hosting this tour so darn much fun? In a single word, it’s the kids! When you ask them a question, especially the younger ones, you never know what their answer will be. It’s always unpredictable and often extremely funny! At this age, the kids are very enthusiastic and frequently three of four have their hands raised to answer a question before you have even asked one.
For me, another big plus is that they laugh at my jokes! Nothing swells a docent’s head faster than knowing someone got your point.
Finally, the young kids are open and honest; if you are doing a lousy job, they have their ways of letting you know. It’s their feedback, good or bad, that helps us improve ourselves for the next time around.