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Chaperone 101: the Etiquette of Going on a Field Trip

Thinking about being a chaperone on your child’s field trip? Have you already volunteered to go to an apple orchard or the Flynn Theatre with up to 20 other children?  

Whether you are a seasoned chaperone or a first timer, read on to find some tips to help you be the best chaperone possible!

First, let me say this: as a teacher, I love parent and family chaperones. Extra adults make planning and executing a successful trip so much easier.  For some trips, the more adults we have the better. Depending on the facility where we are going, let’s say the ECHO Center in Burlington, small groups of children with one adult is best. For other trips, such as The Flynn Theatre, there is a limit to the number of tickets we can purchase. Therefore, we have to scale down the number of extra adults who can accompany us.

Regardless of the field trip destination, there is definitely an etiquette to follow when accompanying your child’s class.

Taking and Posting Photos to Social Media

Personally, I love taking photos on field trips.  I use them to make books for the children and share at the end of the year as memories. We will often go back and look at photos, remembering our favorite parts of our day away from school. I must caution, though, that as a chaperone it may be tempting to take pictures of your child and her classmates on a trip, but please do not post these images to social media.

chaperoneWhile we encourage you to take as many photos of your child as possible, many years, we have children in protective custody in our care. This means that no photos of these children are to be posted anywhere at anytime, especially to social media. We also have students with media restrictions. This means that their family purposely chose to not allow any photos of their child to be shared on websites, blogs, and other media.  

To be considerate of these needs, I suggest just checking in with your child’s teacher and asking if it’s okay to share photos. I know for me, some years it is not an issue, while others it is.  

Texting and Chaperoning

As teachers, we are so thankful for those family members who give up either part of or their whole day to come with us. We know that you often have work you have left behind, and people who you need to get back to. This means it can be difficult for some chaperones to stay off of their phones. If this is the case, chaperonewe just ask that you do so discretely, while still maintaining the safety of the group you are in charge of.

Which brings me to my next point:

Following Directions

Have you ever noticed your child’s teacher counting the children in her class? Everywhere we go, we count. Going to the bathroom, getting on the bus, walking out of a building… I go so far as to count the children right before they get on the bus, and then again ON the bus before we leave. You never know. Years ago, a teacher who is long retired told me a story that upon leaving an apple orchard, they were not aware that a child from another school had gotten onto their bus. Needless to say, they found out when the bus was pulled over by a police car minutes later to retrieve the lost child.  

chaperoneThe biggest thing that is on our minds as teachers during a field trip (besides the children learning and having a great time) is safety.  When we take your children off of school grounds and to another place, we need them to be safe. As a chaperone, you play a part ensuring children’s safety. You may be asked to be in charge of a group of children.  If so, just be aware that if your child’s teacher has asked for the group to follow a certain direction, it is for a reason. Or it could be that the class needs to stay together as a whole in a line to get from one place to the next, which is also for a reason. It can seem silly, but it is important!

And Lastly, Ask For Help When Needed

Some years, we can have difficult children in our class. We know this. Sometimes, it can even be your OWN child that is being difficult (no judgement either! We all know our kiddos act completely different with us then they do with others!)  If this is the case, please don’t hesitate to ask for help.  We need our chaperones and want you to come back on other trips!

A Chaperone is a Wonderful Thing.  

You make our trips more fun, and your child is just so incredibly happy when you are able to come along with her/his class for the day! Whether you ride the bus with us or drive yourself (which, who can blame you?) we welcome you on our trip and hope you enjoy yourself with our class. 

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2 Responses to Chaperone 101: the Etiquette of Going on a Field Trip

  1. Sandy April 7, 2017 at 8:44 pm #

    Thanks for this article. I will copy it and hand it out for my field trips. Without chaperones we wouldn’t be able to take some of our trips. Although one year on the bus a chaperone got out his watergun and started squirting kids. I never would have anticipated that!

    • Erica April 8, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

      Yikes – a water gun?! I bet the kids loved it though! I’m glad you found this helpful!

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