Suggestions and Tips
Now, as an educator and advocate of student travel, I would be irresponsible to create the perception that everything is great when traveling with students. Let’s remember that students are kids, teens, and young adults, in knowing this, we know that some days will be good and others somewhat questionable. Here are a few standard tips that will help guide you when things go wrong. Don’t get unnerved, remember as adults we specialize in results and create solutions to all problems.
Student Group Text
- First things first, get the phone numbers of all students as soon as you get on the bus and send a mass text message to everyone to ensure the numbers work. Explain the meet up points, or meet up times, stick to them, any student who is not on time have them spend the duration of the day with you (they will hate it). This usually solves that problem and students show up on time to check in as requested. This also works if you have a lost phone, no service, dead battery, their friends will make sure they know. Trust me, you will see students running to check in on time!
Early Parent Pick Up
- Let parents know an estimated time that the bus will return to the school. Make sure it is earlier so they will be waiting on you when the bus arrives. Do not and I mean do not tell them the bus will arrive at 8, and the bus arrives at 8, the parents will show up at 9. Trust me on this one, there will always be those few parents who “were across town, just got off work, getting their hair done, at the hospital” whatever the reason, they will be late! Set a time boundary and let them know you will need to call the Sherriff if they are late because you need to get home to your own children.
- Yes, the bus may break down on the way going or on the way home, this is completely out of your control. Simply communicate with parents that all is well and let transportation sort this one out. Explain to parents that they will get a refund if their child misses the trip and a replacement bus was not sent.
Gift Shop Theft
- Yes! Students will attempt to steal from the gift shop, give them a warning as soon as you collect cell phone numbers, that they WILL go to jail and there is nothing you can do about it. I usually said “please do not let me hear our school name called across the speaker because you stole from the gift shop, don’t tempt yourself, if you have no money do not go in”. Be prepared and know this might not work, someone may steal anyway!
Student Love Affairs
- You may have students with an older boyfriend or girlfriend that drives, they may decide to use the day away from school to spend some quality time together, make sure you have this conversation with students as well “just know if you are missing and your significant other has picked you up, your parents will be called and you might end up being reported missing” true story. Express the importance of safety and what “could” possibly happen in the event that they are considering sneaking off for a secret hook up. This could get a lot more interesting if you are overseas.
- Please encourage students to stay with their assigned group so they don’t get lost, but yes, it will happen. For those kiddies that this is their first time outside of the school for a trip (because many never went on trips) they like to roam and get caught up in the excitement of everything new, make sure you check on them during checkpoints. Sometimes there might be a few students who are loners, they prefer to be alone, offer to let them enjoy the trip with the teachers, sometimes this helps.
Time To Leave
- When it’s time to go it’s time to go! Make sure they understand that they need to have all food eaten, bathroom breaks taken, gifts gotten, and be walking towards that bus at the time designated by the final check in. Period.
Most field trips go off without a hitch, but I hope these tips have helped prepare you in the unnerved moments that you might experience.
Much love from the brown girl, taking local trips with kids, trying to make something beautiful. Find me and the team at Unnerved Travel Tours for our daily travel updates, tips and vents @Unnervedtraveler, @Dearnyri and @Unnervedtraveltours on Instagram and Facebook!
2 thoughts on “When Field Trips Go Wrong!”
I went on a trip to Florida and this student stole a hat. They sent her home on a bus that day. And the bad part about it is that she had $500 in her purse!
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Now that’s a damm shame!