Tips for chaperoning ESL students

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As a trainee or novice ESL teacher, sooner than later, you will find yourself having to chaperon a school trip. Here are some useful tips to help you with chaperoning students.

First and foremost, you should be aware that as a chaperone you will be in loco parentis (“in the place of a parent”) responsible for the well-being of the ESL students under your direct charge: this means you may be legally responsible for any harm or injury that befalls your students. You will probably be one of a group of ESL teachers who have been assigned to chaperone the students: the first thing you should ensure is that you fully understand your specific duties, for example: it may be that you will be responsible for only a certain number of students rather than the whole group of students. Before you depart on your trip, you should carry out the following checks:

1. Check that all your students are present: if any are missing – report it to the trip organizer or whoever is in overall charge of the trip. You should also make sure that you know your students’ names: they may not necessarily be ESL students that you have taught.

2. Make sure that each student has your mobile number as well as the school’s telephone number.

3. Each student should have a copy of the itinerary.

4. Make sure that you have all your students’ mobile numbers.

5. In the event that you are going into the countryside or some other remote place: check to see that each student has a packed meal and drinks.

6. Check that each student is appropriately dressed, e.g. good walking shoes will be required if it’s a trip in the countryside: normally, the students will have been informed about what to wear prior to the trip.

7. Each student should wear a school name tag attached to the clothing in a prominent place: this should show the name of the school and the school’s phone number. It should not show the student’s name.

During the trip, you should take the following points into consideration:

1. Do not allow students to wander off alone: students should be paired up – and always stay in their pairs.

2. Always count your students: especially when departing from sightseeing stops.

3. You should never leave your students unattended: visits to the toilet should be done en bloc.

4. Students that misbehave should be made to permanently accompany the teacher during the trip.

5. Adjust your chaperoning style to accommodate the age group of the students that you are chaperoning. Good chaperoning means being able to supervise your students without dampening their enthusiasm and unnecessarily limiting their independence.

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