Have you volunteered as a parent chaperone for a field trip to aquariums in Dallas or another fun location? This can be a great time for you and your child, provided you handle it correctly. With that in mind, we’ve prepared some important tips for being an effective and responsible class chaperone.
Learn The Plan
To do great as a student chaperone, you need to know every detail of the trip inside and out. That means learning about the logistics, trip itinerary, and any other guidelines the teacher might have laid out for chaperones. Ideally, you want to have this info before the trip to familiarize yourself with all the details on time. For example, you want to know the number of kids you’ll oversee. In most cases, this will be ten kids at most, though the precise number depends on the destination and their age.
You should learn the kids’ names as soon as possible – both to avoid awkward interactions on the day of the trip and to be more effective at chaperoning them. Also, you need to know the precise meal and meeting times and who handles your admission charges. If any of the kids you’re in charge of have behavioral or medical issues, you should know about them beforehand. That way, you’ll be able to treat them with the special attention they need.
Furthermore, you should learn about the disciplinary policies of the school and the next steps to take if a student gets lost. If the school trip includes visits to a museum, ask the teacher in charge about any displays or exhibits you shouldn’t miss.
Prepare On Time
Learning about the trip details isn’t the only kind of preparation you need. There are also some practicalities to take care of – like having enough cash on hand for extras, food, or admission fees. Of course, you’re technically not supposed to pay anything for the kids you’re in charge of out of your own pocket. However, in practice, kids often forget their lunch, money, or both. And you need to take care of them if something like that happens. It’s also important to bring a couple of extra bottled waters to keep them hydrated, and a couple of band-aids are always handy.
As for yourself, remember to dress appropriately for the trip and put on a pair of comfy shoes. Always have your phone with you, and make sure all of the kids who have phones have your phone number if you’re in charge of them.
Always Show Up
Many parents don’t show up or cancel on the day of the trip; it’s one of the most annoying issues teachers have with parent chaperones. So, what can you do about this? Never volunteer for a school trip if you’re not absolutely sure you can do it. That will save you one awkward conversation later on, and it’ll be a huge help for the teachers because they won’t have to look for last-minute replacements. Of course, that’s why a lot of teachers book additional replacement chaperones; but you still don’t want to be the person who cancels.
On the day of the trip, you’ve got two primary goals: keeping the kids you’re in charge of safety and making sure they have the best time possible. With that in mind, you must be an example of professionalism and good behavior. Remember, every group of kids is the image of their school and a reflection of yourself as a responsible adult.
With that in mind, try to avoid pushing irrelevant subjects of conversation on the teachers while on the trip, especially your kid’s progress in school. That day is all about the kids you’re chaperoning and the field trip in general – you can discuss other stuff you’re interested in on any other day. Also, ensure you keep the kids you’re chaperoning involved; talk about the tour, ride the bus with them, and engage in conversation. Always be on time, pay attention to any directions the teacher gives, and follow them.
Naturally, it’s important to be courteous with the kids. If you can’t solve any issues that may arise calmly and without making a fuss, chaperoning is probably not the best idea for you.
Give Kids Some Breathing Room
Naturally, your main goal is to keep your group safe and under control. That being said, you must also maintain a healthy balance between discipline and freedom, just like you would with your own kids on any other trip. You’re not running a military unit – so ignore minor infractions, and stay clear on the important stuff like unfriendly behavior towards other kids or straying from the group.
Try to make the experience as fun as possible – that’s what learning is supposed to be, after all!