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With the new school year upon us, class trips are just around the corner. Educators nowadays like to have the class trip tie into the lessons they are teaching in the classroom. It makes it much more educational in nature and the kids can benefit from the authentic learning approach. But even the most well-intentioned trips can detour into madness if not planned out correctly. Below are just a few tips on how to manage your upcoming class trips successfully.
Bring a Class Roster
It amazes me when teachers go on these elaborate, well thought out class trips and they fail to bring a class roster with them. It is easy to forget things when it gets chaotic, so in doing so you are inviting the inevitable. Leaving even one kid behind will ruin the trip and have other educators making jokes at your expense in the teachers’ lounge. My own parents had nine children themselves, and I can’t tell you how many times I was left behind on our family excursions. Although, they may have been trying to get rid of me on purpose.
Pair Up Students Responsibly
No matter what age the students are, pairing them up wisely will leave you with several less headaches. There are always a couple students in the group that you can envision having difficulties with. By pairing them up sensibly with more responsible students, just maybe their behavior will improve and you can then relax and learn right along with the students. Often times, students behave much better with their peers than adults. Just make sure the students are not able to choose their own partners, though, or it could result in a bit of trouble. While one student could be soothing to bad conduct, another could act like dynamite and make things much worse.
Let an Educational Tour Company Plan the Class Trip
By letting a company that specializes in class trips handle the planning, you are leaving it up to the professionals. This is what they do for a living, so they are bound to be superb at it. They will take care of the transportation and any problems that can go along with it. The experts have much experience with these class trips, so it is guaranteed to run smoothly. In fact, you may want to start using them for your own family trips as well.
Check the Weather Forecast Leading Up to It
While a bit of rain won’t ruin some class trips that are located more indoors, it can be disadvantageous if the educational tour is held mostly outside. If your students are walking around like soaked cats, it can be difficult to learn anything. The same can be said for the temperature. Make certain your kids are prepared well for extremely hot days or frigid chilly ones. Dressing appropriately for the class trip is important to remember for yourself and the students.
Finding the Right Chaperones
Remember at the beginning of the film The Dirty Dozen when Lee Marvin’s character tries to find the best ex-soldiers that are qualified for the upcoming mission? This is what you should be doing when choosing the correct chaperones for your class trip. Don’t just accept a parent because they turned in a piece of paper saying they would like to tag along. Determine what are their strengths that they can offer to improve the excursion. If you can find a couple that are good with discipline and another two or three that enjoy the learning process, you might be in good shape. While the majority of chaperones think spending a day with their kid during a class trip will be enjoyable, you also want those that know they are in charge of all the students and not just their child.
Prepare a Schedule Ahead of Time
While some companies that offer class trips will have a schedule already made for everyone on that day, not everyone is so lucky. If you are preparing for this on your own, it is best to have a schedule in place that you can provide to all the chaperones and the students. It will keep everyone on track and prevent the students from constantly asking what is next and when is lunch. It is amazing how quickly hunger pains kick in for students when they aren’t tied down to the classroom.
Ask Parents for Any Medications the Students May Need
I will never forget the class trip we took to a farm. We were around cornfields, wheat fields, bean fields, and farm animals all during the first couple hours. After that time, one of my students approached me and I barely recognized him. His whole face was swollen and a bit grotesque. He then informed me that his parents were worried that he would have an allergic reaction on this trip and thought they should pack his medication. But, alas, they never did. This day ended early for the student as one of the chaperones was able to drive him back home. I can only imagine his parents’ reaction as he arrived home looking like the elephant man. Since then, I always ask about medications and usually have about a third of the class bring them to me the morning of the class trip.
Provide a Purpose for the Trip
The class trip should have some sort of purpose to it, otherwise what is the point of taking it in the first place. If the trip is for educational reasons, then make sure the students know what to look for. Give them a worksheet ahead of time so they realize what questions they need to answer. Furthermore, have your students write down three questions of their own before the trip on what they would like the tour guides to explain more about.
These are all just little tips from a veteran educator on preparing as best you can for a smooth class trip. If you have other advice as well, be sure to leave a comment or two below. It could definitely be a benefit to those who are not as well prepared as they should be.
by Ryan Crawley
Ryan Crawley is an education and fitness guru currently making his home in Illinois. He always tries to look on the humorous side of things as he has spent years teaching, training, and writing.