Planning your first educational tour? As fifth-grade teacher Mallory Sample prepares for her first Washington, D.C. student trip, she shares her experiences and advises, “Quit debating and start recruiting!”
1. Why do you travel with your students? How does it benefit your students and your school as a whole?
Seeing the capital of our nation is something every American should have a chance to do. Kids are naturally interested in history, and having the opportunity to witness history in person is the ultimate field trip. This trip can help children develop a sense of national pride and a feeling of responsibility for shaping our country’s future. Not only does the trip align perfectly with the fifth-grade social studies standards, it makes learning about history authentic for students and serves as a fantastic motivation for kids to work harder in school and in life.
2. What were some of the biggest obstacles for you, personally? How did you overcome them?
I am not naturally blessed with the gift of organization, but it is really imperative when it comes to planning any trip, especially a trip for so many people. The teacher who planned the trip before me was very organized with fundraisers and communications, keeping all files on our school’s teacher hard drive. Borrowing her organizational system has helped lessen frustration.
3. What were your thoughts about planning this student tour before the process started? How have they changed now that you are in the midst of planning?
Before the process began, I’ll admit I did feel a little overwhelmed. Fortunately, the planning of the trip has been surprisingly easy. Brightspark Travel handles the itinerary, plane tickets, hotel reservations, etc., so I really only had to handle the recruiting, parent communications and optional details like fundraising. Additionally, anytime I have been confused or had questions, my concerns were addressed quickly and thoroughly by the Brightspark employees.
4. What were the biggest pain points amongst parents? How have you solved them?
The biggest issue I have encountered with parents is reservations about the price of the trip. Sharing information about the quality of the trip really makes parents want to send their kids, but looking at the total price is scary for some of them, so we have done a lot of fundraising over the course of the school year. Another thing that helps is starting parent recruitment a year before the actual trip so parents have plenty of time to budget and plan.
Ready to plan your own inspiring student trip?