My answer to: Why don’t teachers go on more field trips?

Why don’t teachers go on more field trips?

Enna Morgan
Enna Morgan, 15 years teaching various subjects in N & S America, Europe, and Asia

Thanks for the A2A, Shanna.

Ah, field trips! We love them!! We crave them! We yearn for them!….NOT!

Can’t deny the blue skies of the rainy, evergreen, Emerald City!!

Field trips with your students are like Disneyland trips with your children – fun, educational, explorative, and a great bonding experience, but alas, they are also exhausting, hard on the pocket, logistically horrendous, and terribly scary (think ‘lost child’!).

These are just a few of the main reasons why teachers do not cosy up to the term ‘field trip’:

  1. Cost – Like everything else, there is a cost involved, which some parents cannot afford, and it just emphasises that disparity when the sign-up time comes. It is a way of saying: Okay students, all of you with rich folks, will go on a field trip with me next week, and have a great time. The rest of you, well……try not to be too jealous! And perhaps you can spend the time studying, and see if that can change your situation so you can maybe join us next time!
  2. Plouging through the politics – From any perspective, be it public or private school; lower or higher education, it is all the same – the bureaucratic burden that must be borne. The paper shuffle that one must go through to get these trips approved ‘for their educational value,’ and all the other criteria that must be satisfied, makes on rather pop a movie into the computer, order popcorn, and call it an outing!
  3. Liability – Like the clearance above, the liability is another major barrier to overcome, and it is actually one of the reasons behind that need for clearance. Think 30 – 60 students in one or several vehicles….if something happens, well, that is an awful lot of angry parents to console, and also a great deal of moolah to fork out! Who wants that responsibility? No one!
  4. Headache city – Fun for whom? The students, yes, the teachers and organisers? NO! Several years ago, I took a group of students (about 60) on a tour around Seattle. There were 2 guides, two assistants, and about 4 chaperones (came with the students). During the tour, the students insisted on wandering off in pairs and groups. By the end of the tour (lunchtime), we had lost one-third of the number we had started with. By afternoon, there were 4 students unaccounted for.

Now needless to say, we did not lose them during the tour, but we lost them somewhere between them leaving us and getting home. Regardless, we were still liable for these students’ safety, and we are accountable to ensure their safe arrival to their home. We spent about 2 hours trying to track them down, amidst some weeping and wailing parents and hysterical coordinators. Nightmarish!!

Photos from that tour……………….

I began the day looking fresh, right??



The first Starbucks, at its original location…..this is where it all began in 1971

The famous Pike Place Market’s mascot – Rachel The Piggy Bank


Ah, yes, it was a lovely day, a good time was had by all, but a horrible migraine was had by some!

That night, end of the day……see how I had lost all my give-a-shit!!??

And those, mon amie, are the four simple, but potent prohibitors for the average teacher’s willingness to even mention the word ‘field trip!’

I break out in a rash, just saying the word!

Yes, I have been itching all the while I was writing this post… where is that darn Benadryl!?