Traveling for Free is the Teacher Perk You’ve Been Waiting for
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Traveling for Free is the Teacher Perk You’ve Been Waiting for

It’s that time of year again when your lesson plans feel stale and there are so many #teacherproblems that only other educators—and maybe Buzzfeed—can truly understand. This year, why not give your lesson planning a global twist?

Here are five reasons why you and your students should ditch your classroom for a bit in exchange for a global adventure:

1. Travel for free!

Have you always wanted to travel to Costa Rica but student loans, rent, and—let’s face it—a teacher salary, have stopped you? Here’s your chance! Educators who accompany students on a Rustic Pathways trip not only travel for free, they also get free room and board. FREE! And it’s a perk you can use more than once.

Lynn Maloney, who teaches at Marin Catholic in Kentfield, California, traveled with 48 high-school students. It was her third trip with Rustic Pathways.

“There were so many amazing moments that it is hard to pick just one,” she said. “Walking around the market buying ingredients to make and deliver to needy families, hanging out with the staff playing bocce ball, the incredible sunsets at Ricefields—it was an incredible experience. Rustic Pathways does an incredible job of mixing both service projects and cultural experiences while at the same time providing an authentic experience for all of the students and chaperones.”

Lynn will accompany groups of her students to both Tanzania and Peru in 2018.

2. Become a better educator.

Rather than sit through another yawn-worthy mandatory teacher professional development session, strengthen your lessons through a personal experience.

“Travel makes me a better educator hands down,” Lynn said. “When I travel it allows me to learn such incredible cultural information that I can then bring back into my classroom and incorporate into my daily lessons.”

3. Strengthen bonds with your students.

Take the opportunity to form lasting relationships with your students by sharing unique and unforgettable experiences with them outside of their classroom and home country.

Morgan Critchley, who teaches at St Columba Anglican School in New South Wales, Australia, traveled with 36 students to Fiji in 2016 and 11 students to Cambodia in 2017. She said her trips had a positive influence on her relationships with students.

“I was given the opportunity to really get to know my students outside of the school environment,” Morgan said. “Seeing them selflessly help others and work so very hard to make a difference made me so incredibly proud, and really made me realize how special and valuable young people are.”

4. Create lessons that have a lasting impact.

Maybe you’ve been using your “teacher voice” to try to explain into the abyss of your classroom about the fragility of our ecosystems (Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?). Then proceeding to give the “teacher stare” when a student rolls his eyes during your latest sustainability rant.

However, when your students compare the marine ecosystems of Naviti Island and Kuata Island, they can develop a passion that changes the course of their lives. There is no substitute for the lessons presented by a global classroom.
Studying marine ecosystems in Fiji
5. Make new friends.

Yes, you’re on a trip with students, but you’re not responsible for leading daily activities or tending to their every need. Expert Rustic Pathways Program Leaders are prepared to guide your students through their travel experience. You are not alone!

“They are incredibly organized and professional as an organization so they are easy to work with,” Lynn said.

Not only will you have the support of these experts, but you’ll have the chance to network and build friendships with these fellow globetrotters.

P.S. Are you a school employee? Do you have a child interested in traveling with Rustic Pathways? Check out Rustic’s Teacher Appreciation Program and get up to 50% off summer programs for your teens.

Visit Rustic Pathways Group Travel for more information about creating a customized trip for your students.

About the Author

Regina Yorkgitis

Southeast Asia Logistics Coordinator

Regina teaches science in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has worked as the Rustic Pathways Southeast Asia Logistics Coordinator in Thailand for the past two summers. Regina is an alumna of The College of New Jersey and a 2015 Teach for America corps member. She enjoys rock-climbing, reading, and hiking.