As a teacher, I want my students to have every opportunity they can in learning and discovering things outside of the classroom. I try to do two field trips a year with my students, one in the fall and one in the spring. However, it is a struggle physically and financially on a teacher.
It is a struggle financially on a teacher because most of the times I have to pay the fees foe at least half of my students. Now, please don’t think I am trying to pin flowers on myself because I am not. I am just trying to give you, as a reader, a more perspective of what I am talking about.
I work at a Title 1 school in a very small town. My school consists of about 180 students. The grades range from K4-8th grade. The demographics are about 75 percent African American and 25 percent Caucasians. All of these students get free lunches because of a county wide grant our school received this school year. There are probably 15 percent of the students that live with both parents, and most of them live with grandparents. If you are asking yourself if my students backgrounds makes a difference on the way I love then, it DOES NOT! I lvoe each and everyone of my students, and they are some of the most giving of love little people I know.
The town that the school is in has a population of about 800. Downtown has a row of worn down, closed down, and dilapidated buildings. The only store in town is a gas station and a Dollar General. People who live in the town have to go to the next town to shop. There is a police station, a post office, and recently a medical clinic has opened up.
My heart is so burdened for my students. Burdened because I feel they have been “shortchanged. They have been dealt a hand of life, and the only way they can change is by getting an education, and discovering other parts of the world. Learning what is out there for them so they can set goals to achieve in their life. That is where the Virtual Field Trips come in to play.
A virtual field trip is a guided exploration through the world wide web that organizes a collection of pre-screened, thematically based web pages into a structured online learning experience. (Foley, 2003). The way virtual field trips happen in my school is< I sign up for the ones I want my class to attend, the media specialist confirms it (as well as the technology part), and we go to the library to participate in the field trip. The students can actually interact with the people on the field trip. They can talk to them and ask them questions.
Education World is a great blog to follow, and learn more about virtual field trips. There are also links to free virtual field trips.
Virtual Field Trips can take the stress out of planning field trips. Teachers don’t have to spend their own money, worry about putting in lunch and/or snack orders, or worry about safety of traveling. I have had great success with the virtual field trips. A couple that we went on was, “The Life of Helen Keller,” and “Puppet Characters.” I really hope this post will help some stressed, wore out teacher that may need an easy alternative to the norm for field trips.