Few things strike fear into the hearts of teachers quite like the phrase 'class trip'. While the opportunity to get out of the classroom for a day can provide a welcome change of pace, the thought of shepherding a group of unruly students around an unfamiliar territory - and bringing all of them back alive and in one piece - can be enough to bring even the most experienced educator out in a cold sweat.
Here are five teaching hacks to help you to survive - and possibly even enjoy - your next class trip experience.
1. Plan in some reconnaissance time
The last thing you want to be on a school trip is surprised. If you have the opportunity, make a preliminary trip to your intended destination on your own, so you can plan your day thoroughly and identify any potential problem spots in advance.
2. Keep your trip local and accessible
The further you travel on a class trip, the more complications you're opening yourself up to. Long journeys make children restless, and if anything goes wrong, getting home quickly can be a priority. Teaching in the UK means you have access to a wide variety of potential destinations right on your doorstep, from museums and galleries to the Great British countryside. So why make your day out harder than it needs to be?
3. Create an itinerary and stick to it
You might like the idea of keeping your class trip light and spontaneous, but the moment you show signs of indecision, your students are likely to pick up on it. A carefully structured day plan not only keeps things running smoothly and on schedule, but it also eliminates the need for decision-making once you've arrived - and the arguments that can often accompany them.
4. Prepare a budget... then bring more
Another important pre-planning hack is preparing a budget in advance of your trip. Not only does this help you to calculate the cost per pupil of the trip, it also helps you to identify all of your likely expenditures. These are likely to include transport, insurance, entrance and activity fees, staff cover and food. Make sure you also have access to a healthy contingency budget in case of emergency, and document all of your spends in case you need to claim back or account for them at a later date.
5. Count, count and count again
Losing a child is every teacher's worst nightmare on a school trip. If and when it does occur, it's essential that you have a clear idea of where and how long ago they went missing. In most instances, wandering students are quickly rediscovered, but do a headcount at every stage of the trip to ensure nobody has a chance to escape your notice for too long.