Ever chaperoned a school trip to Europe?

Jan 23rd, 2006, 04:35 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 662
rosebud- I am a teacher and have had two very different trips- one to Greece which was wonderful and one trip from hell in Paris and London. I think you can never be sure what will transpire. So much of it depends on the tour guide which you have no control over. (I assume.) We booked a second trip based on the fabulous guide we had the first time. Boy, were we wrong! Anyway, I just want you to consider that the accomodations may be pretty basic and, if food is included, it will be pretty basic as well. If you are picky, do not go. Your time will not be your own, so I would really want to travel with some other chaperones whose company I really enjoy! I would not go without a friend or acquaintance I have fun with! You might also want to find out if they are going to allow parents to let their 18 year olds drink. We had our poor middle schoolers with a bunch of poorly supervised, out of control bingers...Just some things to think about....
wondering is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 02:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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<I can't believe that someone called parents and interviewed kids just because someone gave a few of them an alcoholic drink. Why? Americans seem to be more and more clueless with each passing year.>

I am very insulted by the insinuation that lack of intelligence lead us to call parents needlessly from the other side of the planet and let them know that their child had broken the school board policy against drinking during school functions.

I have to assume that AnthonyGA is very far removed from educational circles by this comment, so maybe I should use small words when commenting.

Child signs contract. Child breaks contract. Child must tell parents about breaking said contract.

Is this the ideal way to travel? NO. But it can be a "once in a lifetime" experience for some kids. THAT is why I take a year to plan trips. I love my students, and they respect me. I would not continue to teach if this were not the case.

katya_NY is offline  
Jan 24th, 2006, 05:47 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 222
I just have to jump in here again. It was very hard work. Lack of sleep, cranky tired kids at times, pain in the arse chaperones, not to mention the tempermental band teacher. However, having said that, I would not trade the experience of seeing the look on a student's face the first time he flew in an airplane, the first time they saw a mountain or dipped their foot in an ocean. Some of them came to me with a little crumpled paper bag to show me the earrings they bought for their mother or sister. Not to mention the friendships which developed between my child and a handful of others, between me and some chaperones and between me and the tour guide and bus driver. One of them is going to drive 4 hours to see us on our next trip. Years later I drive by a carload of men in their 20's and one of them will be grinning and waving his arms furiously to get my attention and I will see one of "MY" band boys. Rosebud, don't miss the chance of a lifetime. I have also chaperoned dancers, hockey teams and basketball teams and they were all just as much fun.
diddl_maus is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 06:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 91
Wow, it seems that most people think that it's not a good thing to do (can't believe someone actually called me "insane" to consider it!). But those who loved it surely loved it. I guess I need to decide which perspective makes the most sense for me. Frankly, a few of you have really scared me with your stories! Guess I'm more naive than I thought!
rosebud is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 07:44 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 143
My high school teacher husband and his friends (3 have actually taken student groups to Europe many times and lived to tell about it) all think you stand a better chance of having a great experience taking high school band members than you would with any other group of students. Obviously at least one of the other posters did not have that experience, but these teacher/coaches still say go for it. Of course quite a bit depends on the knowledge and experience of the person/people in charge. What does your son think about your going along?
katt58 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2006, 08:28 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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Taking band members is no different from taking anyone else.

The real determiner of whether or not kids will behave is their parents, and the way they've been raised. Good parents raise good kids; bad parents raise bad kids. If you are with a group of kids who have good parents, they'll behave for the most part; if you're with a group of kids who have bad parents, it will be a nightmare.

Since in most groups there's a blend of kids with good parents and kids with bad parents, what actually arises with a specific group is hard to predict with complete accuracy. But if all the kids come from similar backgrounds, often they'll have similar levels of behavior.

As for “contracts,” kids know that these contracts are not binding upon them and will be voided at the leisure of the adults (even though, ironically, adults are bound by any contracts they sign—but kids don't often sue). Getting kids to behave is a matter of raising them properly, not compelling them to sign bogus “contracts.”

Drinking seems to be a powerful phobia among many parents, even those who drink to excess themselves. The less forbidden drinks are, the less tempted kids are to experiment with them. And here again, hard-drinking adults tend to raise hard-drinking kids, and vice versa.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 05:32 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
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back in the 60's I was sent on an art tour trip... 17 students. We ran the chaperones pretty much ragged <GRIN>...
We chaperoned them the evening on the beach in Greece, lamb cooked on an open grate, the orzo flowed...retsina...
SuzieC is offline  
Jan 29th, 2006, 04:41 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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AnthonyGA: I have to agree that "forbidding" something makes it that much more tempting... but even the "best" kids from good families sometimes make mistakes. As far as our trips are concerned, they are on school time and therefore students are expected to behave as though they are in school, 24/7. If a child were to drink during my class- yes, that would warrant a call home.

I traveled to Europe with school as a teen, and I know that temptation exists. I also come from a family that would allow me to have a sip of their wine at dinner (which I never liked) so I was never tempted to experiment. I think that if drinking is thought to be a primary reason for teenage European travel, it should be done with parents. NOT TEACHERS, PLEASE!!!

katya_NY is offline  
Feb 4th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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I've been on group tours from all perspectives- as a student, teacher, coach, and parent. I

I've found that going on a group tour isn't all that inexpensive and not worth the trade off for a discount to chaperone. In one case, our whole family could have spent a week in Hawaii rather than just my son and I going for four days so we opted out of that one.

It would never fly these days but in 1981 I traveled with 8 other kids and my crazy French teacher who had lived in Paris prior to teaching. He told our parents straight up that he wasn't responsible for keeping us from drinking. He spent evenings with his Parisian friends and we had huge parties in the penthouse suite on the top floor of some cute little hotel facing the Madeleine. Some evenings we went dancing until dawn at some huge discotheque where the bartenders gave us our drinks for free.

We also(teacher included)drank our way through a very expensive dinner at the famous Trois Gros restaurant in Rennes as he was a serious foodie. One girl lost her virginity to her boyfriend on the trip and they spent about four days in bed rather than touring in Paris. Two students got really drunk and went out on the streets looking to score pot.

I just loved that trip.

As a cheer coach I had a 7th grade girl trying to get into the hotel rooms of college football players who happened to be staying at the same hotel. She ended up pregnant the summer before her freshman year but continued with the competition squad all summer season before letting anyone know of the situation so she wouldn't get kicked off the squad.

I was a band kid, DH was a band kid, and DS is one now. JMO, but there seems to be as much sex, drugs, and drinking in my son's award winning 300+ member h.s. band as in the general student population so don't let them fool you. Some of them are just smarter about not getting caught.
amwosu is offline  
Feb 4th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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The smartest ones don't take drugs at all (including alcohol and tobacco), but they are a minority.
AnthonyGA is offline  
Feb 5th, 2006, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Rosebud, I went to France and Spain on the high school french club trip last summer. I wasn't a chaperone, but one of 10 parents on the trip. We had 20 students and two teachers. Our teachers laid the law down before we left. Our French teacher is a well respected much loved teacher. The other teacher was the Spanish teacher and the same for him. I think if the kids know the rules and know what will happen if they break them (the first plane home on parents, credit card)and no bad behavior will be tolerated, makes a difference. Our kids were wonderful. It was a great time with them. We had no problems with anyone. It was the tour company where all the problems were. Needless to say, the tour turned into tour he!!. I am not going to go into it again, go back and read my old posts if you want the details. But the kids were great, we all really bonded over the conditons we put up with. But I love kids and they usually like me. Good luck making your decision.
hester is offline  

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