Last year was my first time chaperoning a trip abroad with students and boy was it a surprise. There were things that I was obviously well prepared for because I travel quite a bit but there were also things that didn’t even cross my mind. I wrote a blog post with tips for chaperoning a trip aboard and this post is more about how I am changing the way I prepare for this year’s adventure to London and Paris.
Apparently high school girls seem to forget they still get periods in Europe. lol This time I am packing extra pads and tampons and keeping 1-2 accessible at all times just in case.
I don’t need to change anything with my personal packing of clothes, I definitely didn’t use everything I packed but I had plenty of space so that’s no big deal. However, my students can use packing tips! Ummm there is no reason to pack a checked back for a week-long trip. I can look cute, carry my own bags, get through customs faster with just a carry on & a personal bag. Not that it personally bothers me if my students overpack but I a) would like to empower people with better packing tips and b) I could use without their complaints about heavy bags.
Sooo I got very little sleep last trip and that is probably not going to change. It literally did not cross my mind that I would have to do bed checks at midnight, which is way past my bedtime. I have two options: go to sleep only to wake up again and check beds or just stay up, change into pjs and crash after bed checks. I chose the latter and I think that’ll be my decision again.
Plan your Airplane Seat
Last trip I just randomly picked a seat, like I always do, only to realize I was sitting next to a student from the trip that wanted to talk to me the whole airplane ride to Greece. I like talking to teenagers, I teach high school, but I really wanted some sacred “me time.” So this time around another chaperone and I are teaming up to book seats together so we can at least not be stuck alone with a kid and have adult conversation for a few hours before I fall asleep.
Read more: Travel Tips for Teachers
Get Grades & Planning Done
So this is *always* my goal before a break and I’m pretty good at it but it is vital if you’re actually going to enjoy your chaperoning time. Can you imagine the immense buzz kill to have to go back to the hotel room early to grade. pssssshhhh not happening. So there are two simple things I always do during exam week before a break:
- Never assign a complicated project or FRQ due during exam week – multiple choice all the way!
- Have ALL grades current and finished by the Monday of exam week so you can focus on lesson planning for the week back
Those two simple things have saved my butt time and time again. Before I leave on a trip during break, I set up my room with everything I need for day 1 and “set it and forget it!” I do not think of or do any school work while on break.
*Note: I also take this philosophy with my students. I do not assign homework over breaks. I will make readings/review stuff available to them if they want to get ahead but that’s it. We all need a mental & physical break!