“SHH! We need to be quiet and listen to the speaker,” the teacher admonished. It’s not unusual for teachers to remind their young students to settle down and pay attention while on a field trip. The teacher in this example, however, was reminding the parents.
With daughters ranging in age from 10 – 19, I’ve been on countless school field trips. I’ve witnessed parent behavior at its very best and at its absolute worst. If you’d like to stand out as someone your child’s teacher can rely on, consider the following suggestions.
Think about where the class is going and what supplies might be necessary. Depending on the field trip, useful items might include:
- Extra water bottles
- Blanket for picnics
- Small first aid kit (at minimum, a few bandages and ibuprofen)
- Cell phone
This seems like common sense. However, I’ve personally been guilty of not wearing the correct attire for a field trip. Two years ago, I had to stop on the way to our state capitol and buy a jacket when I failed to check the weather report.
Other common mistakes I’ve witnessed include:
- Not wearing comfortable shoes on a field trip with a lot of walking.
- Dressing too casually for the occasion, such as sweatpants to the theater or symphony.
- Wearing t-shirts with profanity or liquor advertisements.
Set an Example
Teachers shouldn’t have to shush parents. It’s hard enough to get the class to follow the rules without having to encourage parents to do the same. Pay close attention to the rules of the venue and follow them. There are dozens of pairs of little eyes watching you.
It’s fun to chat with other parents, but during your child’s field trip isn’t the time to get absorbed in conversation. Instead, be on the lookout for ways to help. Does your teacher need a hand carrying lunches? Is there a child in the corner who isn’t engaged in the activity? Being observant and responding to needs quickly is a tremendous help to the teacher who can’t personally have an eye on every student.
I say this with a word of caution. You can definitely go overboard when it comes to taking pictures on a field trip. However, snapping a few photos along the way can prove helpful.
Many teachers enjoy having a record of the year’s events and will want snapshots of the class having fun on their field trips. You can also send pictures to your school’s yearbook editor. Kids love seeing themselves on the pages of the yearbook.
While it’s very important to be helpful on field trips, it’s also important to have fun. In addition to providing support for the teacher, you’re there to create memories with your child.
By following these simple suggestions, you can have a great time and still earn the title “Super Chaperone” in the process. Maybe your child’s teacher will even give you a gold star.