General, Organization, Teaching

Tips for Educators Before Going on a Field Trip!

Tips for teachers before a field trip!

Let’s be honest here–field trips are chaos.  You are worrying about a million things at once, and you don’t know where to start when it comes to planning.  Yes, they are worth it to get the students to learn in the world instead of just in the classroom, but they are nerve-racking for sure. However, you can make it easier on yourself by being prepared and having plans in place.  Here are some tips:

  1. Send home a letter to inform parents.

Are you going mountain biking? Visiting a museum? Attending a circus? Going to an escape room? Do they need to bring a lunch?  Make sure the parents are aware of where their children are going and what type of attire they need to wear and what they need to bring. Sending letters home with kids is a gamble, so to be sure they see the letter have students bring it back with their parent’s signature.  You could also upload it to your class website or send it in an email. All students should have some sort of signed permission slip if they are going to be leaving the school’s campus.

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it.

If you plan to leave at 8:00 am, make sure the bus driver, the principal, and the chaperones are all aware and are able to help you stick to the schedule.  Type up a schedule of events for the day to give to each chaperone so there is no confusion about where they should be or what they should be doing.


  1. Group students like you would on a project.

Yes, we want our students to have fun on their trip, but we all have those students who will take advantage and misbehave if they are with their friends.  Put your students in groups like you would if you were seating them together in class for a project.  This will help eliminate behavior problems.  The chaperones will thank you.

  1. Discuss the rules.

Make sure your students know what you expect of them.  Regular classroom rules should still apply, so be sure to enforce them.  That being said, still expect challenging behavior, even from your best kids.  If a student has misbehaved and is being punished, he/she should not be able to attend the trip.  If a student misbehaves on the trip, make sure they are adequately punished when you return.

  1. Check with the nurse.

Don’t forget to do a run through of all students with your school’s nurse to check for anyone with an illness or allergy.  Be sure to bring any prescriptions they may need in case of an emergency, as well as their parents’ and doctor’s phone numbers.

What should I bring?

  1. Phone charger.

Just in case!

  1. All parent contact forms.

If Susie breaks her leg on the ropes course, mom is going to want a phone call.

  1. Copies of the roster.

Most important: don’t lose kids.

  1. Medical waiver forms and medicine.

Those emergency items are vital, yes, but it wouldn’t hurt to bring a little first aid kit.  Bandages, ibuprofen, motion sickness medicine, etc.

  1. Paper bags & Paper Towels

Because no one wants to sit on a bus that smells like vomit.  Make sure you let your students know if they are feeling woozy they need to tell you.

  1. Extra clothes.

Sweatshirts, t-shirts, coats, pants, socks, shoes, etc.  If Johnny falls into a mud puddle, he’s going to be grateful for the dry sweatpants.

  1. Credit card and extra cash.

You can pretty much count on at least one student forgetting money or a lunch.  Spare the child money for lunch and you can always get the parent to reimburse you later.  Also, having a credit card on hand is a safety net.


  1. Bottled water and snacks for the bus.

This will come in handy for the kid who doesn’t have a lunch, plus your chaperones will be happy you thought of them. If you are feeling ambitious, maybe even grab some Lunchables just in case.

  1. Toiletries.

Tissues, tampons, wet wipes, hand sanitizer.  Someone will need them.

  1. Weather gear.

Sunglasses, sunscreen, umbrellas, ponchos, boots, blankets, hats, gloves, scarves, and anything else you can think of.  Ask your colleagues to bring these things in the week leading up to your trip so that you can have a decent amount of supplies.

  1. Clipboard/notebook and pen.

Checklists, notes, scheduling–you are going to be happy you brought this.

  1. Name tags for all chaperones and students.

Important for obvious safety reasons, but also so chaperones know the students’ names and vice versa. Pro tip: Put a colored sticker on the name tags that correlates with the color on the chaperone’s tag so it’s easier to spot who they should be with.

  1. Your photo ID

This should be obvious, but it’s worth mentioning.

  1. Trash bags.

You don’t want your kids leaving their garbage all over the bus.  Even if there is a trash bin, they are usually quite tiny and you don’t want to leave it overflowing with granola bar wrappers and Powerade bottles.

  1. A good attitude and sense of humor.

No matter how much planning you do, there is still a chance something will go awry.  Don’t stress yourself out, and make sure that you enjoy yourself as well.  This is a great opportunity you are giving to your students and you should be proud of that! Take all the precautions you can and hope for a smooth experience for students and chaperones alike.


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