Student Field Trips
Field trips have become an expected part of our children’s educational experience. Unfortunately, no matter how far in advance you prepare, field trips can quite often be an organizational nightmare. Whether you are planning the event or your school’s administration is setting up the opportunity, make sure you have the information you need several days in advance so that you can develop a plan of action and communicate it to everyone involved.
• Will parents be driving or is the school hiring buses?
• Will the students be meeting in your classroom first or out in the parking lot?
• Which forms need to be signed?
• What will you do with students without permission forms?
• Who should you contact when you arrive?
• What items are allowed and prohibited?
• Will the students need a sack lunch?
Most places that you go will require name badges for every student. Plan ahead and purchase lanyards and badge holders for every child and a beaded lanyard for yourself, so that all you need to do is slip the child’s badge into place and hand them out the morning of the trip. Instead of making the lanyards out of yarn, invest in quality lanyards and badge holders, so that you can reuse them for years to come.
Every parent is unique, but knowing the common parent profiles will help you identify and prepare. It is likely that you will see the following two parent types show up at your next set of conferences.
The Over-Involved Parent: You probably know this parent by name. They are your Room Mom, the PTO President, and the Office Volunteer. You receive feedback on every graded piece of paper sent home, often with suggestions for improvement (yours, not their child’s). With this parent, it is important that you make them feel heard while remaining in control of the conversation. Use empathic listening to reiterate what they say back to them, and then reassure them that you are qualified to handle every situation that presents itself in your classroom.
The Out-of-Touch Parent: You are lucky if this parent shows up the conference at all. They often fall into two camps: the well-meaning but over committed-elsewhere parent and the parents who do not see the value of being involved in this aspect of their child’s life. For the first, have a snapshot of the school year in hand: (1) their child’s strengths, (2) their child’s needs for improvement, and (3) a short directive about how they can help you in the future. For the second, have literature emphasizing the importance of parental involvement in a student’s success ready. Ask them for a specific commitment; for example, “please listen to Susie read aloud for 10 minutes each day and initial her journal.” You cannot force them to do so, but having concrete instructions with an easily-inspected report card may help.
With every parent-teacher conference, you want to look your best and display your professionalism. One way to be fashionable and professional is to wear your ID and keys on a beaded lanyards.