Have you traveled with students lately?
Julie Frye, OFLA Membership Chair
French Teacher, Lexington High School
This issue, I am deviating from my usual “perks of membership” article and talking about something near and dear to my heart: TRAVEL!
My Schoology French 1 page uses this image of a woman holding her packed suitcase, ready for adventure, and I can relate. When I was young, my parents would plan a trip for the family at least once a year. We ate lobster on a pier in Maine, toured the chocolate facilities in Hershey PA, stopped to appreciate the view on the Blue Ridge Parkway, rented an oceanfront condo in NC and visited Disney World (several times!), just to name a few. My parents would also travel annually out of the country, just the two of them with friends, but no kids.
When I was in college, I was fortunate enough to spend my Junior Year studying abroad, starting in Biarritz in September, then moving north to Paris for the remainder of the school year. I bought a Eurail pass and spent weekends exploring the British Isles, the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain.
Now that I am ‘all grown up’, I have the great good fortune to be married to my best friend, who also has a spirit of adventure! When we have time, we love to just get in the car and find new places. We have children in Cleveland OH, Rochester NY and San Diego CA and want to visit them any chance we get. Surprisingly, John just applied for his first passport last spring, in order to travel to Quebec with me. Unfortunately, the passport did not arrive in time for him to join me and the students who were traveling with me.
Which brings me to my next point: travel with students. I was scared to death the first time I agreed to chaperone a student trip to France, but the experience was so wonderful, I have planned several since then. I have shared places I knew well in Paris, but have also visited new places at the requests of those students I traveled with. I had never visited the Catacombs of Paris, nor had I ever ventured to the south of France and the Provençal region. Travelling with students provided me with those new experiences! I went ‘someplace I have never been before’!
My most recent student trip was the aforementioned tour of Québec City and a couple of days in Montréal. We all loved it! I am not going to pitch a tour company because I am sure they all have their pros & cons. I will say this: I have travelled with two different organizers and have never had a complaint. Travel with an educational tour organizer takes so much stress off the chaperone’s shoulders and keeps students occupied all day and tired at night. So, my goal for all of you is: ‘Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.’ You will be so happy you did!
And then, share those experiences with us here at OFLA. Thank you!