Every student loves taking field trips. Who wouldn’t right? You go to the same place 5 days a week for 8 hours a day, so a break from the mundane is a big deal. I can still remember my first field trip in K-5. Not only do I remember the trip to the Birmingham Zoo, but I also remember the kid that I was literally TIED to! The buddy system was a little forced back in those days! Most school trips are, at some level, educationally based so administration can justify allowing teachers to go along and leave someone else to cover their classes as they take a break from teaching for a day.
Here in Taiwan not much is different. Most students jump at the chance of skipping out of school to take a trip (although some would rather stay). Much like the schools in America, our teachers are usually the first in line to sign up to go! I was fortunate enough to be one of the 4 teachers that accompanied our Taiwanese kids on the latest “field trip”.
I have to say, there are many things back home I miss and after teaching, coaching and living in Taiwan for over a year now I often wish things would operate more “American”. However, I am certain that our school trips here in Taiwan will be very hard to top wherever you are. Let me explain: If I depicted an outing that required wetsuits, life-jackets and helmets would a school related trip be in your top ten possible activities? I think not. If I went on to describe a rushing river carving through the lush, green mountains with various boulders along the way (to jump off into the river), would that be in the “educational” category of your trip planning books? Probs not. One last question: if you were told that the activity in said location would be to, in teams, walk up-river through slippery rocks and white water using various techniques (rock climbing) and tools (ropes) would you say something like…”Do what now?” Because that is exactly what I said when I first heard about River Tracing.
Last week I went with a group of high school students and we experienced the beauty of nature while “tracing” and sometimes floating back down just for fun! At the end of our journey we rewarded ourselves by jumping off a 25 foot boulder. Fun times. Here are some photos to prove it: