Almost every teacher gets involved in a field trip
at some point during the career. Some teachers really like field trips and plan multiple trips a year to a variety of locations like museums, zoos, and even theme parks
. Other teachers avoid field trips like the plague, seeing them as wasted time away from the classroom. There are many pros and cons to taking field trips. There are also many things that teachers can do to help them be successful. This article takes a look at what we as teachers should avoid doing in order to circumvent issues before they start.
1. Fail to get sufficient information about the location being visited.
Things that need to be learned before you go on a field trip include:
- Distance and time of travel to the location
- Amount of time necessary to experience the location
- Facilities at the location including gift shops, restrooms, and places to eat
In order to schedule enough time to travel to and from the location, see the exhibits/information, and eat lunch, you need to have gathered the above information. Any parts of this information that is lacking could ruin a really good educational experience for the students.
2. Forget to give students who stay behind something to do.In most cases, you will have a couple of students who do not attend the field trip. Therefore, it is important not only to have a place for these students to go, but also to have something for them to do. Every effort should be made for these students to learn the same material that is being covered on the field trip. However, the work left for them should not be viewed as a punishment by the students.
3. Fail to turn in collected money.
Every school will have its own policies concerning the collection of money for field trips. If your school allows the sponsoring teacher to collect the money, great care should be taken to follow the school's policies. A common mistake is not turning in the money to the bookkeeper
in a timely fashion. This can be easy to get overlooked on a busy day and can have serious unintended consequences for you. For example, you might lose a check, have the money stolen if left in an unlocked drawer, or even miss a deadline for payment. Also, be careful not to borrow money with the intention to pay it back later. This may be easy to do but is never a good idea.
4. Do not have enough chaperones for the group.
Typically, the younger the students, the greater the number of chaperones necessary to truly monitor the students on field trips. When groups are too large, it is easier for students to get lost or to misbehave
5. Do not spend the time creating student groups.During the planning phase, it is easy to plan to let the students choose their own groups. However, this can lead students to create social groups rather than learning groups. If you control the groups, you can ensure that there is a nice combination of personalities while avoiding known behavioral issues.
6. Do not connect the field trip to your lessons.A field trip should only included to aid or reinforce learning. Therefore, it is essential that the field trip be part of the lessons both before the date and upon your return.
7. Fail to have a system for organizing the group and taking attendance.Your chaperones will look to you concerning how best to keep the students organized. You should have set meeting times and methods for taking attendance. Remember that the chaperones will not know the names of all their students. Name tags or a card with all the names on it is a must. Also, every chaperone should have a means to get in touch with you during the field trip.
8. Do not stay visible and involved throughout the field trip.
Sometimes you hear about a teacher who plans everything and then disappears during the big day. Remember that a well-planned trip includes the day of the trip as well. There is a debate about whether you as the teacher should also be a chaperone of a group. Some teachers feel that they are better able to help everyone if they do not have a group. However, others choose to have a group in order to stay connected with the learning experience. Either way, you should stay visible throughout the day.
Share your field trip stories.