Joined: 08 Dec 2005 Posts: 224 Location: kingston, ny
Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 4:15 am Post subject: traveling with school groups
Yikes! I'm hoping to solicite some information from the teachers and professionals around here.
Background info: after I graduated high school I went to France and Italy (Paris, Tours, and Venice) with my French teacher of 4 years as a student. There were 6 students all together and 3 adults, mom, daughter and grandmother. This time around, ie next summer, I'm going as a chaperone/adult along for the ride. Big change is that there's 20+ people signed up.
Any tips on how to deal with traveling with that many kids (most will be 15-16 years old) without going insane or being that group of loud, over-the-top Americans?
Joined: 13 Nov 2004 Posts: 899 Location: Gold Coast Australia
Posted: Fri Dec 07, 2007 8:25 pm Post subject:
Woodstoker I think it will be a wonderful experience. Imagine seeing Europe through the eyes of a 15 year old. Probably best if you start thinking like a 15 year old then you won't be shocked or disappointed with their behaviour. As for the loud American group. I once travelled with a group of middle aged NZ women on a work trip to Canada. I was embarrassed by how loud they were some days. But really I think it is just the excitement makes you forget where you are.
I'm seeing a friend this week who has just spent two weeks with a group of overseas students on a NZ trip. I'll ask her advice and get back to you. _________________ Barbara
woodstocker... will you meet these kids beforehand so you can establish a connection? If you can enlist the natural leaders in the group to help it could be easier.
I think everybody recognizes a "subject matter expert". If you know *all* about the area you're visiting, with plenty of asides/gossip/trivia you can hold their interest.
(Just a couple days ago I saw this: http://combiendebises.free.fr/ )
I've been a tourist guide for 29 years, usually ( actually 95%) grownups. But I had also youngsters, usually accompanied by parents/grandparents.
I hope you're not alone with the group, and actually I don't know what is your role : are you the guide, the tour leader, just a chaperon ? Are there parents in the group?
I presume you have a defined program, so first of all, I would say : stick to the program. I presume you're having a meeting with them before the trip, so I would advise to go over the program with them, so they will know what to expect. Stress the highlights and get them involved as much as possible: for example: let each one of them prepare a specific subject/topic connected the places you are going to visit, and so they will have the opportunity to participate , to "guide" their appointed site.. Kids , especillly teenagers, get bored very quickly by long lectures, so shorten the explanation to the minimum necessary. They will listen with pleasure to their friends. Maybe the main thing to do is to keep them active: walk, let them free to stroll around for an hour or two, give them responsabilities ( luggage in, luggage out, giving away the keys to the rooms, etc.) .
Discipline is a big issue- so rules should be set from the beginning. Seat rotation in the bus is usually a good idea - so each and everyone gets to sit in the front/back.
If you will spend a lot of time in the bus- prepare some society games, otherwise they'll get bored . Of course CD's are a must.
I could be of more help if you could tell me the itinerary and the structure of the group.
I know the touristic itineraries of "calssical" Europe pretty well.
P.S. Kids are loud. Don't worry. People understand.
No more war, let the kids travel and see the world safely
Joined: 08 Dec 2005 Posts: 224 Location: kingston, ny
Posted: Sat Dec 08, 2007 5:49 am Post subject:
C&Z to the rescue!
woodstocker you have my deepest sympathies
But David, I volunteered for this.
As for meeting all the kids/other adults, afterschool schedules are crazy for everyone involved. Several of us are either in college or grad school, so we're relying on technology to help fill us in (thank you email gods). The trip organizer has tried to have several meetings but there's always a couple of people that say they can't make it. Since there's no use saying things 8 thousand times if you can say it once, said meeting hasn't happened yet. The teacher is planning a mandatory meeting shortly though. We'll probably have a meeting in the spring again, to go over everything (probably at the teacher's house in the evening). One of these two meetings will be the 1st time for me to meet most of these kids, since I graduated when they were in 6-8 grade, depending. Last time I went there ended up being some major bullying issues that in fact, I just learned, continue to this day, almost 4 years later. Running out of group leaders won't be an issue if I'm around , somehow I usually end up at the front. LOL
I'm going partly as a chaperone, but more because I'm an experienced overseas traveler and have been dying to go to Rome. So as such, I'm along to help keep track of the kids (15-18 of them depending if anyone drops out, all from a small upstate town) and to be available if anyone wants to go do something different then what the rest of the group is planning on doing (say shopping instead of a museum- gasp...maybe I will be the one at the museum and not the stores). The trip organizer is my former French teacher who's done this a million times, but I've almost always either traveled alone or in a small group. Even she admitted that she'd rather have a few less people going.
Aside from myself and my teacher, her daughter (who lived in Paris), another teacher, and possibly a parent are going as well. I found out Thanksgiving weekend that one of my very good friends, who has never been outside the country, is going with her mom. The trip was her 21st bday present, so there will be a couple of people my age in the group.
We're going through a travel company that specializes in school groups, so the days are pretty full with "free time" doled out, usually one afternoon a city. I believe we have a walking tour in most of the places we're going, which leaves me with the itinerary...
12 days in mid-July:
Paris- 3-4 days, can't remember which. The "standards" Notre Dame, the Louvre, lunch at the Eiffel tower, a walking tour, free time, possibly a tour of the Catacombs. Some other things. When I went last time, we ate lunch at the Eiffel, which ended up being something of a disappointment b/c the youngest in the group was terrified of heights and stayed about 5 minutes before she had to leave.
Overnight train to Venice: stay 2 days I believe. My memories of my last trip to Venice have spurred me to take an intro to Italian class before we go. Remember...not everyone in the world speaks English!
Train to Rome: all together 3 days. My teacher wanted to limit the time we were here (noooooooo!) for the simple reason that the city is so big w/ so many things to do.
Day trips to Pompeii and Vatican City. Free time in Vatican City.
Ferry to Delphi: 2 days or so I think.
Athens: walking tour, and the major sites.
There may be more, but I actually signed up for this trip on faith alone, knowing they were going to Paris, Italy and Greece (the fact that the price is a steal helped too). Saw the itinerary for the 1st time this past weekend! Personally, I think I would prefer a less structured plan, but that's me and as I said before, I don't schlep 20 other people around with me. So in that regard, it's a good thing- but being held to a stop watch has never been my thing and makes a visit less enjoyable I think.
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