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I recently took 11th and 12th grade on a field trip to Yale Repertory Theatre to see These Paper Bullets, a “modish remake” of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. We had arrived early enough to have a little time before the show to stroll the sidewalks of Yale/New Haven and grab a cup of coffee before filing into the University Theatre. The weather cooperated for the first time this year, the show was fast-paced, and engaging, and students participated in a talk-back with the crew and cast after the show. “Best show ever!” was their collective response, and I agreed.
This was a great field trip; one the students will remember.
Certainly, the educational institution known as the field trip presents any teacher with one of education’s most complex dilemmas: it can be both fraught with peril and, at the same time, infinitely rewarding. In taking a field trip students are removed from the safe confines of the school building to participate in a volatile mix of authenticity and liability. The only guarantee of success is that while students will forget homework, lessons, and classroom rules, students will always remember going on a field trip.
There are teachers who hate field trips; they are difficult to organize. There is a laundry list of possible disasters associated with field trips:
- Final expense could mean that some students may be excluded or choose not to be included;
- Bad weather cancels activities or negatively impacts trip;
- Students could be injured;
- Students could get lost;
- Busses could break down.
In addition, field trips disrupt class schedules, and even though students are told in advance that they are to complete any work they miss in class due to a field trip, they rarely do. For all these reasons, field trips are sometimes limited in number in a school year. This limit is unfortunate because any field trip is a powerful educational tool.
Field trips are what students remember.
The day after the successful trip to the theatre, the entire eighth grade from our school left for a day trip to NYC. The students visited Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the aircraft carrier Intrepid. However, they were not so fortunate as my trip only 24 hours earlier. The weather was dismal, and a light rain kept the temperatures chilly. Oh, and one of the buses broke down; something about a wheel falling off.
On a positive note, students used social media to keep their parents and friends updated on their 3.5 hour delay. Just before midnight, their organizing teacher posted, “They [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][students] were well-mannered, patient, resilient, and cooperative.”
Their trip was a great field trip, too; one the students will remember[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]