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Be Powerful. Be a Chaperone.

Be Powerful.  Be a Chaperone.
Much of education is the passing down of knowledge, wisdom, and good thinking from one generation or one person to the next.  It is not done by machine, computer, or by magic.  It requires each of us to educate ourselves and others.  If you are looking for better employees, better neighbors, and better customers, then look for an opportunity to chaperone a school field trip.  This could be for your own child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or sibling.

 Field trips to science centers, museums, businesses, colleges, and many other places help to concretely teach students.  In fact, preparing for a field trip and going on a field trip can be more educational than many other experiences.  

Technology is a sexy topic, the bells and whistles often entice parents and students and many schools.  Computers are useful, although they only affect learning by .37.  Additionally, the vast majority of schools and school districts are not able to afford all the latest in technology, all the upgrades, replace and repair all the damages.

Parental aspirations, especially as demonstrated by chaperoning a field trip, have over twice the impact as technological devices.

What is a chaperone?

Chaperone:  1720, from Fr. chaperon "protector," especially "female companion to a young woman," earlier "head covering, hood" (c.1400), from O.Fr. chaperon "hood, cowl" (12c.), dim. of chape "cape." "... English writers often erroneously spell it chaperone, app. under the supposition that it requires a fem. termination." [OED]"

How to be a good chaperone

1.  Volunteer early on, even before a field trip is announced.

2.  Attend the pre-trip meeting.  If there is not a meeting or a packet, then ask for a list of guidelines and rules for chaperones and students.  Verify the positive and negative consequences for student attitude and behavior.  Positive reinforcement works wonders.  It is vital that the teachers and/or you discuss the standards and rules before getting on the bus.  An excellent approach is to gather your group in a circle and ask each student to share something you should all do or not do on the trip (such as no gum, use good listening skills, walking nicely in a line, et cetera).  Remember:  you are doing a powerful thing. 

3.  Research.  If you will be visiting an art museum, get familiar with a few of the artists and terms.  If you are going on a hike, look up the location, a few of the animals, and geological facts.  Remember:  you are doing a powerful thing.

4.  Prepare.  Know what to bring and not to bring:  healthy food and drink, sunscreen, pencil, shoes, clothing, phone numbers, et cetera.  Set your clock early and show up a few minutes early on the day of the field trip.  You do not want the bus to leave you behind.  Remember:  you are doing a powerful thing.   

5.  Be a good role model.  If you adhere to the rules and guidelines, most kids will too.  If you talk or whisper over museum docents, movies, and teachers, so will the children.  If you make phone calls or send text messages, so will the students.  It is probably best to turn off your phone, rudeness is never acceptable and is all too common.  Talking, whispering, and texting spoils the fun and takes the group out of the experience.  Being consistent and staying awake on the bus ride back is important.  Remember:  you are doing a powerful thing.    

6.  Participate.  Sitting down and letting the kids run around and fend for themselves is not a good idea.  Even if you think they are old enough or look like they are participating.  Raising your hand to ask a question or two of the docent or guide may be an excellent idea.  Think:  who, what, when, where, why, how, then, should, ought.  If students are to complete a journal or questions while on the field trip, this is something to help guide and monitor.  If the field trip seems like hard work, think of the teachers that do it all day, every day in the classroom.  There are no two hour martini lunches nor long breaks to sit down in the education world.  Remember:  you are doing a powerful thing.

These are a few tips learned from countless experience with field trips.  
Please post some of your tips below too.

Thank you for sharing.

Take an organic and natural treat with you on your next field trip.
Remember some for your teacher too.  

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