Spring Fever is real. It’s real and there’s only one cure:
Get outside! (no, not more cowbell.)
An academic year is a living, breathing thing. Like the ocean, when the tides are high, there’s plenty to do and talk about. But as the ocean pushes back out to sea, students & staff alike feel an impending sense of gloom and despair.
By the end of the month of April, most students begin to have a really tough time focusing on their studies. We in the biz like to call it the spring thaw – that period of the year when vacation, prom, and summer jobs compete fiercely with a teacher’s need to keep students on task so that they can finish strongly come Finals.
Consequently, teachers are not immune to the phenomena either. Like most middle/high school teachers at this time of year, we’re eagerly checking the calendar every other day to see how many days of school are left. We get tired much more quickly, and our nerves are frayed more often than not by children who would not regularly cause any trouble whatsoever. The months of July & August provide an opportunity for many teachers to decompress, disconnect, and reenergize for the next school year.
That’s why the spring thaw coincides with educational school field trip season. In Canada, winters are particularly long, cold, and oftentimes desolate. As soon as temperatures are on the rise, we often feel the need to literally get outside. Spring offers an excellent opportunity for students to take advantage of various overnight trips being offered at school. Not only are they economical because of the group rates offered, they are also often jam-packed with great activities & experiences that make for life-long memories.
“[E]veryone walks with a purpose. It’s almost as if people want to get tasks done quickly so that they can enjoy everythjng the city has to offer. They really are fortunate to live in such a [vibrant] city.”
NYC Trip Student
Nowadays, even households experiencing financial difficulties can afford to allow their children to travel away for a few days via school because of attractive payment options and lucrative fund-raising possibilities. The latter is an extremely powerful selling point for many families – not only will their child directly help in the financing of their own trip, they will also be filled with a sense of ownership – life lessons that will remain with the child long after they graduate.
Due to teacher contract negotiations and relatively small student population this year, our school was only able to offer a trip to Boston for junior students (grades 7-8), and a trip to New York City for seniors (grades 9-10-11). At roughly $400 CAD each, both 3-day/2-night trips were easily the highlight for participating students this year. Visits to museums, theater performances , and sporting events were combined with splashes of free time and retail therapy to create dynamic itineraries with something for everyone.
As the head organizer for our school’s NYC trip, people ask me all the time if I ever get bored with revisiting the same locations over and over again. I don’t. Every trip offers a new set of students through who I get to experience my favorite city as if it were my first time. Seeing the boroughs of Manhattan via my student’s eyes is always exciting as they are constantly making new discoveries.
For example, one of my students (who has never ventured outside of their hometown before) indicated to me that people in NYC must be the most efficient people they had ever seen. When I asked why they responded that “[e]veryone walks with a purpose. It’s almost as if people want to get tasks done early so that they can enjoy everything the city has to offer. They really are fortunate to live in such a [vibrant] city.” An astute observation of the proverbial rat race by a 15-year-old new to the world outside of their neighborhood.
And that’s not all. Students learn other valuable life-lessons while traveling on school trips as well. It does not take students long to learn that proper nutrition and rest are keys to proper self-management while abroad. Moreover, it quickly dawns on students that they are ambassadors acting on behalf of not only their family name and school but of their country as well.
From money and time management to haggling and following a transit map, adolescents everywhere should exhaust every chance they get to travel while they are in school. And not only to see what the world has to offer – they’ll also return home a more knowledgeable and resourceful global citizen. Some may say teachers are crazy for wanting to travel with a group of adolescents to another country for several days and be on call 24/7…
…I just say it’s Thursday.
‘Til the next post.