It’s a no-brainer why parents send their teens on international travel experiences with trusted classroom teachers. Many parents want their children to experience the world without hovering, but still with someone they trust keeping an eye on them. Parents get peace of mind, and students develop independence, cultural sensitivities, and other key skills before applying to college.
Maybe you’ve given up a week—or more!—of your spring break, summer, or another school vacation to spend even more time with your students. What do you, the teacher, get out of this experience?
1. Professional Development
Public and independent schools alike require teachers to engage in professional development. Check with your department head or division director to see if a trip with your students might satisfy one (or several) of your school’s professional development requirements. Traveling abroad with your students is a perfect example of rewarding and fun professional development work.
2. Travel for Free
The prospect of free travel presents unique opportunities that wouldn’t necessarily be possible if you were to travel on your own dime. You might opt to visit a new place, especially one that you may not have imagined visiting on your own. Alternatively, you might revisit a favorite destination while viewing your experience through a different lens. The perk of free travel extends beyond the teacher, too. For every six students, an adult is eligible to join the group for free, so you may consider inviting a co-teacher or teaching intern to accompany your group.
3. Facilitate Project Planning
During your trip, one student can create a website, another can serve as the photographer, and a third can blog. This work can serve as a senior project for current students, or it can be a source of inspiration for future students. Allow yourself to think outside the box, as travel serves to inspire future learning and bring your lessons to life.
4. See Teaching Outcomes in Action
While abroad with your students, get real-time feedback to gauge the efficacy of your classroom teaching strategies. If the purpose of your trip is language immersion, you’ll get to see your students interact with native speakers. Are your students able to order food in a supermarket and ask for directions to the next destination on the itinerary? You’ll also witness the extent of your students’ understanding of the culture. Do they understand nuances of addressing elder members of the community or act surprised when encountering local customs? Your observations on your trip will guide you in tweaking your classroom curriculum when you return home.
5. Remember that Learning is a Lifelong Process
You will learn so much about your students, your curriculum, and even yourself when you venture abroad with your students. Your time away from home will remind you that learning is a lifelong process. Travel teaches that you’ll never have all the answers, and that’s OK. Traveling with your students provides a unique opportunity to teach while reminding yourself of the importance of engaging with people from other cultures, beyond the walls of the classroom.
Visit Rustic Pathways Group Travel for more information about creating a customized trip for your students.
Marisa served as Program Leader and Flight Leader for Rustic Pathways and always looks back fondly on Rustic's first summer in the Dominican Republic in 2012. Marisa shared her love for language and community service with students while working alongside them in the bateyes. Marisa is a former Spanish teacher who works as a yoga instructor and blogger in San Francisco.