I must admit that I was very nervous to travel with students out of the country because so many things could go wrong! I was worried about students losing their passports, boarding passes, and iPhones. I was also worried about losing students- especially in the Parisian Metro. And I was worried about what the students were doing when they were not with an adult. Luckily, everything went well, and I walked away with so many more positives than negatives. Here’s my list benefits!
- THEY SPOKE FRENCH! All of my students who came tried out their French, even the one who’d never taken a French class in her life. The students would come back from lunch telling me about how they successfully navigated a communicative situation, or how they completely failed (how did my French 4 student forget her VERB?!?!). Either way, they were trying and using the language in a real context.
- THEY CAN’T WAIT TO LEARN MORE! Of the 7 students who came with me, 2 graduated, 1 doesn’t even take French, and the other one is done with her 2 years. That leaves just 3 who’ll be continuing next year. All 3 of them have already talked to me about some of their goals for next year and have sent me messages about what they’d like to focus more on. They’re EXCITED about French, which makes ME excited it, too!
- THEY LEARNED SOME RESPONSIBILITY. The students were in a situation where they really had to keep up with their stuff or there would have been some major consequences. They also looked out for each other. There was one instance where one of our students almost was pick-pocketed on the metro, but because the other kids were looking out for her, the thief didn’t go through with it.
- THEY MADE NEW FRIENDS. This was another of my worries- that the HHS students and the SPHS students wouldn’t gel. But by the middle of the trip, the kids were asking to room with students from the other school! They became #bestiesfortheresties and #twinsiesforthewinsies. It was really fun to listen to the kids talking on the bus and comparing their lives. Mostly they have lots in common except that only 1 person from SPHS as seen the Ratchet Girls Anthem on YouTube (WHAT!!! even I have seen it!!!). 🙂 I think these kids have made lasting memories and friendships!
- THEY GOT OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONES. Although some of the students on the trip are very well travelled, many of them have not been out of the southeast. They all had to eat foods they had never tried, stand too close to people, figure out how to get clean in those showers, take new forms of transport, walk for hours!, go several hours (maybe DAYS) without WiFi, and be away from the safety and comfort of home. Except for one exception, all the kids handled this beautifully. I think they’ll be more successful on future trips wherever they go as a result.
- THEY WANT TO GO BACK. I think that travel helps us understand that the worlds is full of wonders that are open to us. All of the students have express interest in returning to France- one wants to go back for a senior trip, most want to study abroad, and some want to take their families or go back on their honeymoons. I hope they’ll always send me pictures of their trips.
As for me, I know that I am PUMPED about next year. I have so many ideas- especially for teaching culture and history. I also can’t wait to start planning the trip in 2015!!!