In a few weeks I will be leading my fourth student tour to Europe.
Since this will most likely be my last such trip, I thought I would share my experiences – what I’ve learned as well as a few travel trips – with others who might consider such an endeavor.
I first had this idea in 2006 – the first year I taught British Literature. I knew I was unqualified (I majored in French and Political Science) and I felt completely inadequate. I reasoned if I visited the birthplace of the authors and their stories, the literature would come to life. And if this would be true for me, wouldn’t it also be helpful for students?
After doing a bit of online research, I discovered EF Tours – a company that excels at coordinating teacher-led student tours. I requested information, spoke to a tour consultant, and well… the rest is history.
In 2007 I took a total of thirteen students and chaperones to London. This was an ideal first trip. Not only would it help me become a better teacher, but we did not have to worry about speaking the language. In addition, we stayed in the same hotel for all six days, which decreased the possibility of lost luggage.
In 2008 I took another group of seven students and chaperones on the same trip. I tried to lead a third group in 2010, but there was not enough interest. While disappointed, I figured this was a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I was grateful for the experience.
Three years later, however, I was approached by a parent who wanted her youngest child to have the same travel opportunity her sibling experienced in 2008. With two tours under my belt, and an increased confidence in teaching Brit Lit, I decided to register for a different tour.
So in 2015 I led a group of 38 students, parents, and chaperones on a whirlwind, fun-packed 12-day tour of seven cities in three countries: London, Paris, Florence, Rome, Pompeii, Sorrento and Capri. It was glorious! Not perfect…. for no trip is without its mishaps and hiccups … but glorious nevertheless.
When I returned home, I thought my student travel days were over. After all, this trip was supposed to be my swan song – my last teacher responsibility before I fully retired. But that was short-lived.
Three months later I was asked to lead another group tour by a parent who wanted a younger sibling to have the same experience as her older sister. Sound familiar? How could I refuse.
So here I am. Getting ready to lead another group of 38 students, parents, and chaperones on the same 12-day, jam-packed tour. And I am just as excited as the first trip I took in 2007.
For this series of posts, I plan to share:
- Why I enjoy being a group leader
- How to make the most of your travel time
- How to pack for 12 days in a carryon bag
- How to maximize personal item space
- Worst experiences make the best stories
- How to Nourish Yourself While Traveling