One of the questions I have been asked at conferences, conventions and even at my own high school is “How do you find the time during the school year to organize a student trip?”
As a teacher who has been traveling with my students for over 25 years, it now becomes second nature to weave my trips into my school day and my curriculum. However, when I was a new teacher that was certainly not the case. I struggled with getting my program off the ground, choosing trips that would give my students the best experience possible, having my students and their parents trust me, as well as getting my school behind the concept of student travel. I understand how overwhelming the process can be if you have never traveled before! After the first year of working with ACIS, I realized the process can be easy, as long as the teacher is well-prepared ahead of time.
Here are my 7 Travel Planning Tips for Busy Teachers:
Do Your Homework.
Write it out.
Find An Ally.
Share Your Work.
Carve Out Time.
Let’s dig a little deeper:
- Plan Ahead. Choose your educational travel company and tour itinerary at least one to two years before your planned dates of travel. You can read more here on how to go about it.
- Do Your Homework. Take some time to plan over school vacations or summer break, This time also gives you the chance to connect with your company representatives to establish a relationship with them.
- Write it out. Put together a calendar of your potential meeting dates. I try to meet with my parents and students in an initial meeting in the spring for a trip a year ahead of time and then with my student group once a month at least 6 months before departure.
- Find An Ally. Choose a student ambassador as soon as you get a core group registered. They will be your “go-to” person for social media and peer connections.
- Get Social. Familiarize yourself with Facebook, Twitter, email, web pages, and video announcements. I use all possible ways to reach students and parents with information.
- Share Your Work. Decide if you want to share the responsibility of organizing the trip with other teacher/chaperones. That will also determine the amount of time you will need to commit to organizing.
- Carve Out Time. The more time you can put into the planning before the school year begins, the easier it will be once the school year begins.
Traveling with students is an extremely rewarding experience. The more you can tie the travel itinerary into your curriculum with photos, stories and your own personal experiences, the more students will want to share their travels with you! Use opportunities in class when discussing college applications to point out the value of student travel in their college essays. Use parent open houses and conference nights to hand out flyers, post announcements and discuss your intentions to travel with students and why this experience is so valuable for their children. Make your trip a part of your “Back to School” or “New Term Announcements”.
Before you know it, you will be known as “the teacher that travels with their students,” which is one of my favorite titles! Just as every journey starts with one step, every ACIS trip starts with one motivated teacher.
Looking for more helpful ways to plan your educational tour with ACIS? Download our 5 Essential Steps for Planning an Educational Tour:
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Here are more school trip travel tips too.
An experienced teacher and ACIS group leader offers tips on how to balance a busy teaching schedule and organizing student travel.
This is a guest blog post written by Pam Skaar Meier, History Teacher at Eden Praire High School and ACIS academic travel advisor.