I’m still recovering from the month that I spent in New Zealand with seven (yes I said seven) children ranging in age from 8-13 years old. I was fortunate to have all of my travel cost taken care of an most of my food costs as well in exchange for being a 24/7 chaperone to the above mentioned kids. Myself and one other teacher we completely in charge of the students and somehow made sure everyone was feed, bathed and safe the entire time we were in New Zealand. I can’t believe we made it back moderately sane!
To give you a little overview of the trip: it’s a 3 1/2 week long trip that occurs during the Thai school holiday in the month of October. The main objective of the trip is for our students to experience a different culture than their own and to use English in the natural setting in school and daily activities. Our school made arrangements for the students to participate in a New Zealand school. Our students were able to enter a typical classroom in Tauranga, learn the same topics as the other children and make friends with a few Kiwis. All the while the children were speaking English and opening themselves to the different learning opportunities presented.
Our trip included more than just schooling, as we had plenty of time to sightsee and do numerous adventure activities in and around Tauranga and Auckland. The children had the chance to rock climb, hike, go to hot pools, see the glow worm caves, see sheep and sheep dogs at the Agrodome, go on the Zorb, touch lion cubs, and so much more. We went to Rotorua on two seperate occassions and the diversity of activities there allowed us to experience both the natural and adventurous side of New Zealand.
Of course, the students did get homesick and we had a few incidents that caused some problems during the trip. However, when everything was said and done the students loved their month in New Zealand. As a teacher, the best thanks that you can get is when you know that the students really enjoyed the time that they had and that you helped them to learn and grow. It really make taking care of them night and day for all those weeks worth it.