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Emer Walsh | 3 December 2021
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Using school residentials and trips to bond with students

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Taking a break during your residential school trip as a teacher

Residentials and field trips were the best part of any school year as a child. The opportunity to get out of the classroom for a few days away was exhilarating and exciting. You look forward to them year-round! As an adult, and especially as a teacher, they begin to lose their appeal. It’s still exciting, but the realization that the kids you’re usually trying to wrangle in a classroom now have fields, forests, and activities galore to distract themselves with, plus the fact that they’re under your care 24 hours of the day whilst you’re away, can be a little daunting. School residentials can quickly become the least favourite part of your year.

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Why go on residentials?

If residentials are so much stress to teachers and schools to run, why do they go on them? Teacher wire explains that ‘Residentials provide an opportunity to break down the barriers between pupils and teachers, and education and the classroom. Relationships can be forged and built upon over the course of a trip that may not have naturally grown in the traditional school environment.’ This kind of relationship benefits the student because they feel more comfortable coming to the teacher for help with schoolwork. However, if teachers are left alone to handle the pastoral care elements of a residential, to wrangle students from activity to activity then it can be difficult for children to see past the typical classroom dynamic, despite the change in scenery.

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How can this bond be formed then?

Looking at both the benefits alongside the complexities and logistics of taking students on a residential trip, it raises the question, how can teachers focus on building these bonds with their students? A Q&A hosted by TES recommends the following to help make school residentials easier on the teachers:

  1. Never try and arrange everything yourself: team planning is the way forward.
  2. Ensure duties are clearly allocated between you: for example, one of you handles the booking, another composes and sends the letters home and collects permissions.
  3. Plan the time and staffing so everyone gets a break.
  4. If you know a trip that used to run and was a success, copy it. There is no point reinventing the wheel. If you have an awesome itinerary that is full to the brim, but has well-planned ‘rest points’ and lots of eating/toilet stops, then everyone will have a good time.
  5. It is not always possible, but going on these trips with friends makes everything much easier
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The Bushcraft Experience; giving teachers a break too

The above list is helpful but might seem a little easier said than done. How can it become a little more realistic? What if you had a helping hand every step of the way? Imagine the company hosting your residential:

  • Ran informative assemblies
  • Ran Parents’ meetings
  • Handled the pastoral care while you were on site
  • and more

The Bushcraft Team are here to do just that. When you book with Bushcraft, you’ve got support every step of the way, receiving a bespoke service tailored to your needs. When you’re on site, you’re the only school there. The Activity Leaders and staff’s attention is not split between multiple groups and are dedicated to ensuring that you as teachers, get a break too.

This eases a lot of pain and stress off your shoulders and enables you to focus more on creating lasting bonds with your students. You can help them connect their activities to their studies rather than worrying about how you’re going to cart them off to the next session.

If you’re interested in hearing more about the Bushcraft experience – contact a member of the team to find out what we can offer you and your students or click the link below to find a location near you.

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