We just returned from JEA/NSPA Convention in Boston. Hands down, the best thing I do with students is travel. The experience of traveling together, learning together, rooming together, dodging weirdos on the street together, competition together all build a strong bond. It makes a journalism class come to life outside the journalism classroom. You don’t have to go big at first. I’d encourage you go to a convention alone or with a colleague or mentor first to get a feel of how it works. My mentor took me to TAJE’s Fall Fiesta in San Antonio early in my career. I will always remember that trip. It was amazing to watch his students bond and work together. That Jazz restaurant on the river walk remains a place I love to stop in on.
Plan ahead for your trip. Here are some tips/tricks/to dos.
- Get approval from your district.
- Set up a mock schedule. Base it on the flights you’d like to have.
- Once the schedule is set up, run costs for all items.
- Create an interest flyer with a list of things you’ll see and do and include an estimated cost.
- Give a deadline for a downpayment for the trip. (Usually this a meeting for parents.)
- Book flight and hotel with the number you have interested. Ask parents or other teachers you trust to chaperone.
- Spread out payments to students. We start six months out of the trip. (May for the November convention.)
- Set up communications. (Remind, GroupMe, Photocircle, etc…)
- Book entertainment and food venues.
- Host a parent information meeting. Go over schedule and rules. Here’s my “rules to travel” I adapt for each trip.