I’ve been on a school trip this week.
Even though I never went on a school trip abroad when I was in school, I really believe this is a fantastic learning experience for kids, and that all of them get something from the trip, no matter how well travelled they are. And I think their teachers get to see them in a different light, away from the classroom and the pressure of getting through the curriculum.
The children who I teach have special needs- I won’t go into the exact nature of the “special” here. So all of what I said above applies even more to them. Here are just a few of the areas of growth that I see from a trip abroad- Geography, Science, History, Culture, Money Management and Currency, Social Skills, Timekeeping, Negotiation, Team Work, Patience, Adventure, Independence... Basically, I suppose I’m saying that travel broadens the mind. I’d be delighted if anyone wants to add to this list.
This is also true for the teachers, and again it applies even if they are well-travelled.
But I really feel today that I might never go on another one. When we arrived back in Dublin at 11.00 at night, having been away for 4 days, having had a 4.00am start on the day of departure, having taken charge of these children 24 hours a day for all of that time, some of the parents were late to collect, and NOT ONE of them said “thank you” for the trip. Honestly, they just took their child’s hand in one hand, their suitcase in the other, and sailed off! The children were lovely, really appreciated everything that we did for them, but where are those parents coming from? Did they think that we had a free holiday?Or that eating every meal with many interruptions of “I need xxx” was dining out? Did they think that negotiating for 2 hours to prevent some of those kids from beating each other up was a fun way to spend a night? Did they think that leaving our own families behind for that time was fun? Did they not think we were dying to get back to them? And that standing around at the airport for an extra hour was just too much?
The same has happened on every trip I've gone on, over many years, with just an odd exceptional parent who says "thanks". It's not that you expect any big deal, just a plain and simple "thanks" would be perfect. And even though you're doing it for the kids, not the parents, a bit of manners wouldn't go to loss.
The mind boggles!