How to Earn Teacher Support for your School-Sponsored Trip
You’re excited about planning a trip that has real value for your students. Now you need to gain reinforcements: your fellow teachers.
Before reaching out to other teachers for support, consider the questions they may ask. This will give you time to prepare your answers and gather all the appropriate information. Their questions also will prepare you for what an administrator or parent might ask.
Here are four questions and responses that will help you earn the support of your colleagues.
1. How does the trip relate to my classroom?
Explaining the ways your educational or performance tour will connect with your curriculum standards is a place to start, but other teachers may need your help to identify the unique learning opportunities that will deepen student understanding of their specific curriculum during the trip.
Start by identifying places you will visit on tour and explain how exhibits, performances, and other experiences may relate. Next, share the organizer below that will help each teacher establish the value of the trip in relationship to their own curriculum based on these learning concepts:
- Traveling supports the inquiry method of learning.
- Hands-on experiences allow students to predict, collaborate, research, and solve problems.
- Students can read, explore, and analyze primary source materials first-hand.
- Leadership and citizenship develop when students learn outside of the classroom.
- Curriculum connections can be explored in new places.
2. Who will chaperone?
Before you can answer that question, you will need to determine if your administration will support teachers attending as chaperones, and how many, if your trip will overlap with any school days. Teachers make great chaperones because they can help promote the trip, they build strong bonds with the kids, and they can add educational value before, during, and after the trip.
If your administration limits the number of teachers who may attend, you can look to parents to chaperone. Most schools will require a background check for any adult attending a school-sponsored trip, so check with your administration and complete any necessary paperwork well in advance.
Most student travel companies will offer a student to chaperone ratio and they will either provide a stipend or discount for chaperones based on the ratio. You will want to talk to your student travel consultant to determine what will work best for your group.
If you are able to take teachers, establish a procedure for choosing who will attend. Consider how you will choose your teacher chaperones if you have more volunteers than spaces available to avoid hurt feelings.
3. How much time will it take out of my classes?
With more and more emphasis being put on testing and, for some teachers, pay tied to student performance, it is understandable for a teacher to be concerned about losing instructional time in the classroom.
However, according to U.S. News & World Report, studies have shown that students retain more knowledge through the type of experience-based learning that is possible during an educational tour compared to in-class learning.
Spending time outside the classroom doesn’t mean students aren’t learning knowledge that could show up on standardized tests.
4. What do you need or want me to do?
There will be plenty of responsibilities to go around, whether or not a teacher is a chaperone. A few ways to help include organizing the Parent Information Night, recruiting students, organizing room lists, and planning fundraisers.
Be prepared with a list of tasks that other teachers can help you do and then ask them what interests them the most.
The more teachers you have on board, the greater your chances will be of getting the trip approved and the more support you will have to make the trip a success for your students. Involve teachers early, seek their feedback, and use their advice, experience, and help.
What types of tasks have you been able to share with other teachers? Please leave a comment and share your ideas.
Originally published January 2019, updated July 2021