How to Track Students During a School Excursion
Wednesday July 25, 2018
Few school-related activities generate the kind of enthusiasm and lifelong memories than a school excursion. But well-planned excursions provide new learning to students that they cannot get through textbooks alone. However, the mere thought of a school excursion strikes fears into many teachers’ hearts. It has the potential to create nightmares for them.
If you, as a teacher, have ever taken children on an excursion, you would have experienced it. The most terrifying experience is often one or a couple of students getting lost during the excursion. The aim of this post is to provide you with different options you can consider to keep track of the students during a school excursion.
Having said that here are a few options you can make use of to keep track of your students during the excursion:
#1: Create Chaperone Groups
When creating chaperone groups, it is best to maintain a ratio of 15:1 for upper primary and high school students. The ratio should be lower for primary students. Further, you must plan the groups in a strategic manner. The attention seeking behaviour of a student that causes a lot of trouble in the school would only increase when you take him/her on a trip.
If it is possible, you can ask one of the child’s parents to chaperone. Whenever you take a break, a teacher chaperone is a better option than a parent chaperone when it comes to taking care of challenging students.
However, it is important to prepare the chaperones well. The names of all the students in a group and their mobile phone numbers, if allowed, should be available with each chaperone.
Further, you must ensure that each chaperone has the emergency contact number saved on their mobile phone. The chaperones should be briefed on student behaviour expectations and sensitized to immediately report any violations.
#2: Emergency Bracelets
You can provide each chaperone and student with a wearable silicone bracelet. The emergency contact number can either be printed or written using a permanent marker on the bracelet. There are a number of vendors out there in the market who could provide silicone bracelets for a paltry amount.
If you are taking the help of a professional student excursion organizer, the company will most likely provide a bracelet for each participant with the emergency contact number printed on it.
When working with professional student excursion organizers, calls to the emergency contact number will always be answered by a representative of the company. He or she will then contact you.
If you are organizing the excursion on your own, you should identify a person who could be contacted in the event of an emergency. The emergency contact person should have the names and mobile phone numbers of all the chaperones and students.
It is a good idea to make your students use same colour t-shirts when you go on an excursion. This is very helpful when travelling with large numbers of kids, especially to popular places. It can be visually very helpful at the time of gathering the students. Custom printed and bright coloured t-shirts that are best for the group can be sourced to help simplify your life.
Chaperones should be made responsible for counting their group members. Then a leader in the bus should be given the responsibility of re-counting to double check. This is because a student can always sneak into a bathroom near the exit after the final count at the lobby. So, counting again when seated on the bus always helps.
You can actually make counting a fun activity. If you are on a multi-day excursion, you can assign a number to each student from the back of the bust to the front. Students can call out their numbers instead of the leader doing a head count. It is so much fun and the re-counting gets done rather quickly.
#5: Buddy System
Each student should be asked to stick with a buddy throughout the excursion. This should include even waiting outside when one is using the bathroom. It is always better to have two students trying to determine as to how they lost track of the group than one panicky kid doing it alone. If there are odd numbers of student in a group, then it is a good idea to make three-member teams.
#6: Clearly Specify the Meeting Spot and Time
Choose a prominent location at the destination for reconvening after the visit. You should also clearly specify the time when the groups should assemble at the spot.
In order to make sure that the students remember the surroundings and time clearly, you can do the following:
- You can ask them to look around the meeting spot to help them identify the area quickly. It is always better to meet near an entrance, a sign, or a colourful large object.
- You can also ask the students to shout back or loudly repeat the name of the place and reconvening time at least thrice so that it gets ingrained in their minds.
#7: Make use of electronic reminders
If the chaperones and students are allowed to carry mobile phones, then you can remind the students by way of a text message.
#8: Set expectations clearly
A week before the excursion, the previous day, and just before getting out of the bus, you must make it a point to review behavioural expectations with your students. In addition to sounding serious, you must explain the consequences of improper behaviour.
Take the effort to ingrain in their minds that they are not only representing their school but also the community and that they put up their best behaviour at all times.