Teachers are far more than simply the tools to receive knowledge. Their responsibilities include creating a positive and friendly mood in the class, fostering respect, cooperation, and healthy competition among students, as well as preparing them for infinite opportunities that expect them beyond the school walls. It’s important to show students that they really can do what they want in life.
A large part of this process includes exposing them to different destinations, cultures, and experiences, as well as explaining that traveling is necessary for their personal fulfillment and success. Much of this can be done in school field trips, where students can learn, have fun, and strengthen their team spirit. It’s also a good opportunity to take on travel those students who otherwise could have never afford this experience, and inculcate the concepts of equality, kindness, and generosity.
All the romanticism aside, preparing a field trip takes a lot of commitment, effort, and knowledge, and therefore, it’s good to have an established set of actions to be sure it goes well. Here are seven management tips to arrange an educative, fun, and most importantly, impactful student trip.
Plan the Details in Advance
There is a certain charm in spontaneous trips, but the sooner you start planning the journey, the more hidden pitfalls you can avoid in the end. As a trip-organizing teacher, you will have to consider tons of issues like flight tickets, accommodation, transportation, food, itinerary, entertainment, emergency management, and plenty of other stuff. There will be tons of questions to answer, so it’s good to have a few extra days, weeks, or even months – depending on the complexity of the trip – to double-check everything.
Planning your trip well ahead can also be money-saving. Air carriers often sell their flights twice cheaper if you buy tickets a few months before the actual date of departure and this way you can be sure there are enough seats for all travelers you take with you.
Additionally, when the trip is scheduled beforehand, you and your students will have a clear idea of how you can plan the rest of your time and money. Students may have to deliver their assignments sooner or refuse from some expenses, but anyway, this gives a certain peace of mind.
Keep it Budget-Friendly
The students of your class may have different financial situations so it’s important to keep the trip within the budget that is comfortable for every member of the group. Otherwise, someone may have to stay at home.
Planning the trip for off-season dates is just one of the ways how you can cut expenses without sacrificing much of the experience. Summer months are usually the most popular time for resort destinations, so flight and accommodation costs may skyrocket. However, as the influx of tourists gradually falls down, air companies and hotels start to drop the prices to attract new visitors.
As an alternative to tour companies, you can organize the trip all by yourself. This will take a good deal of effort and time, but as far as the trip costs go, this will be a sure win.
Gather a Brief Meeting
Having a pre-trip meeting with students (and their parents, especially if you are taking a group of minors with you) is half of the success. Here, you can discuss preferable destinations, sights, as well as the goals of the trip. The trip may be an opportunity to practice a foreign language or learn about some historical events first-hand. Whatever the goals are, as a teacher, you want it to have real value for your students rather than pursue only your personal interests.
Talking about health and safety measures is important too. If the trip requires additional vaccinations or precautions, it’s better to voice these issues beforehand.
Have Clear Goals in Mind
While it’s impossible to attend all the desired destinations in one visit, having clear goals is important if you want the trip to have value. Map up an itinerary, contact local services to settle the details, and make sure your students know and have the same goals. All of you should have a clear understanding of what you’ll be doing. Is it a physical training trip? A language learning experience? Or an inspiration and meditation journey? Once you know the goals, it’ll be easier to plan the activities.
Arrange Teamwork Activities
An educational field trip is also a good way to rally students and teach them teamwork. Bring some group activities to the table but don’t go too far. Breaking a large group into smaller teams and sending them on a scavenger hunt is a great way to gamify learning and establish communication, especially if there are shy students in the group.
Allow Free Time
You don’t want the trip to feel like a punishment, do you?
Independent exploration, spontaneous acquaintances, and squandering pocket money on souvenirs are no less important than an educational part you’ve planned. Student free time is a great opportunity to explore the place as they desire, experience the local way of life, and get out of their comfort zones. Make sure you mark that in your busy traveling schedule. And if the students are too small to be left alone, take care of a healthy level of supervision or plan several fun activities when they can chill out and relax.
Encourage Post-Travel Report
As an organizer of an educational trip, you have to be sure that all your efforts weren’t for nothing. If you are a history teacher, you may ask students to complete a post-travel quiz to find out what they’ve learned. In the course of a foreign language class, you may encourage them to pick a prompt for narrative essays online and cover the topic in that language. Don’t be afraid to introduce other creative assessment methods as well.
It takes a lot of effort, time, and commitment to arrange a high-value educational trip but if you stick to these seven tips, the job will be less overwhelming.