So, on Monday we went on a field trip to a local Technology based College Campus that is like right in our backyard. It was a field trip for all 8th graders to go on in the entire middle school. I had my thoughts about not taking my students because was this really a realistic field trip for them? Were they going to be sitting in college classrooms with professors that were just going to talk to them about college life? Those were definitely thoughts running through my head. This would not be beneficial for them.
Instead of being a negative Nelly I called my guidance counselor who was in charge of the trip and asked her about the programs that the students would be involved in. She said that based on career interest surveys that the students took they would be heading to different departments of the college to learn about their areas of interest. Well, my students had taken this survey as a part of their Technology class but, some of their choices were not realistic. I asked her what she thought was the most hands on program that they had and she felt the Earth and Science center would be best.
Even though others tried to convince me that this trip was not appropriate for my students, I decided we were going. Why shouldn't they have the chance to go to a college, see some cool stuff, and interact with peers. If anything I saw this as an opportunity to teach some life and social skills. It was way better then that! I was worried though that taken my students out of their schedules, routines, and normalcy that there might be problems. I was a packing machine thinking of every reinforcer, device, and material my students loved that could get them through the day. Also preventative measures like noise busters, snacks, visuals out the kazoo, and sensory items.
My students loved the trip we went on a nature hike, they got to climb into trucks, bulldozers, and cement trucks, they learned about bugs, the ecosystem, and how cars run. There were some regular education students that even teamed up with my students, took pictures, cheered them on, and did a nice job interacting them. Check the pictures below....
My whole purpose for sharing this is that a lot of times we can find ourselves thinking we know what our students are capable of and when we push them to do something out of both their comfort zone and ours they can really surprise us and step up to the challenge. My students were the best behaved of the bunch of 400 students on the field trip ( I may be a little biased on that one). They learned so much, and got a great experience out of it.