I often get funny looks from people when they hear about my upcoming travel plans, or a somewhat circuitous routing. Some people think I am odd and others are probably glad that I am not asking them to come too. But, to me, the journey is part of the adventure, and visiting places is all part of the fun.
I teach Geography to 11-18 year old students from a huge range of backgrounds – for the vast majority, English is not their first language. My school is practically a stone’s throw from Heathrow yet many have not ventured into Central London, let alone been on holiday abroad. I spend every day talking and teaching about places all over the world, and I feel it is more authentic when this can be supplemented with personal experience.
Of course, the next step is to actually take the students to some of these places. Following my trip to Las Vegas last year, I am convinced that this is the place to go because of the vast number of possible curriculum links, but funding is an issue. More realistic, in the £600ish region, is probably New York, Iceland or the Amalfi Coast. Each of these places has so many opportunities to discuss geography and to see how what is being learnt in class can. R translated into the real world.
I know of one teacher who took a group on a trip MAN-LHR-NYC which was booked via BA holidays rather than as a school trip. It certainly could offer some decent savings of the planning phase is properly organised. He did say that being a BA Gold did help as he was able to use the Gold Line to sort out any issues.
The biggest difficulty, I think, is being able to publicise the trip and a price far enough in advance to get parents on board and names signed up. I need to work more than 12 months in advance to get approval and the trip into the calendar, but can’t book flights until 355 days out, at which point the price may have changed.
At the moment I am liaising with a couple of specialist school travel companies to give me some quotes. Hopefully it will be within budget so I can get my students out into the big wide world! Travel is so important, because it fosters a greater understanding of the world in which we live and, as a geographer, I feel it is important that I explore it.
Where did you go on your school trip? Where did you wish your Geography teacher took you?!