What comes to mind when you think about excursions you went on as a kid? Was it the excitement of going away? Did you get to try cool new activities? Was it just fun not being at school?
Since this blog is about excursions, it should come as no surprise that getting away from the classroom formed the most exciting times I had at school. But of course my memories vary from awesome adventures, to downright boring! I’ll give you an example of each!
Ok boring one first to get it out of the way! Canberra! Sorry year 6 teachers around the country, but it was a seriously boring trip! We even didn’t stop to pickup fireworks in Fischwick… So yeah… Anyway, before I get too critical, Canberra is an important trip and is something, I’m going to revisit later in the year!
So now for the best trip! Maths Camp!
Seriously??? Maths Camp???
Hey, before you mash that keyboard and fill my inbox with complains about our national capital… Hear me out!!
Ok so maths camp was a wild ride of excitement. I was fourteen at the time, and to begin with it was lame, I mean really lame! The camp was at Lake Keepit Sport and Rec, near Tamworth. As the name suggests, there’s lots of sport and recreational activities to be had there, like archery, canoeing, grass skiing, rock climbing and sailing! Yet the maths teachers hadn’t correlated this until part way through the first day of gruelling maths sessions!
Anyway, I won’t delve into that Freudian mess! They decided at the last minute.., wait… how about we do maths sessions, mixed with outdoor activities! Wow Snap! I think you’re onto something there Mr. Kepler! And so this was my first experience of trigonometry followed by sailing!
In the end, what made this camp so good, was simply variety and a great balance of activities. I loved the maths sessions because they were all problem solving, which was then followed by some new and exciting outside!
I have to confess though, on the same camp, I did manage to get locked out of my room several times, banned for life from a game of dungeons and dragons, mistook a girl for a boy and got handcuffed to a flag pole!
At the time you don’t realise how much effort those teachers put in to making this such a success, but for me, the mix and variety of challenges turned what could’ve been a very forgettable camp into an amazing and memorable experience!
For many teachers, this is the first week back for 2016!
Whilst there’s no kids till next week, you might’ve started out of choice, so you can sort and prepare for the onslaught. Or you could be there under duress, due to those wonderful back to school ‘Professional Development Days’ (are you sitting in one right now? Are you checking fb or snap chatting yourself poking your tongue out to others in the room? You are aren’t you!!!)
I could talk four hours about PD days! However I won’t! Instead, I want to talk about some of the most important questions for the year, including:
What are you going to achieve?
Have you set yourself goals?
Is there something new you want to try?
Are you going to challenge yourself?
Are you going to challenge others?
What do you want to get out of 2016?
On New Year’s Eve, whilst watching fireworks in Kangaroo Valley, I was thinking of all the possible new years resolutions that’ll be 'set and forgets’. I always wonder why people do it? Are they just happy to set themselves up for failure? Or are they simply saying it because they think that’s what other people want to hear? Radio stations get endless people calling in to tell the world what they’ve decided to do, to radically change their life for the better! The most common ones include:
Lose Weight & Get Fit
Diet & Eat Healthier
Learn Something New
Simple enough it would seem! Yet the reality is very different and few people (if any) call up the radio the week after to exclaim how it didn’t work! Oh well, there’s always next year! (I’m rolling my eyes, but I guess you can’t see that right now).
So what’s your point? I hear you scream! Well the point is, why do people think they have to wait for some fixed point in the year to improve their lives? Even though starting a new school year there are fresh opportunities to help guide the lives of others in a positive and meaningful way, it doesn’t mean we should defer this for ourselves.
So for my new year, I didn’t resolved to radically change my life, in fact apart from still being single, there’s a lot I really like about my life! However, what I did do, was set myself some goals, because what I want to get out of this year, is to use my education and experience to help others. So to be specific and I expect people to hold me to these!
1. Teach someone something meaningful and potentially life-changing!
To be honest this one is a really hard one to gauge, as often the lessons we teach others won’t become obvious or life changing until further down the track. But it’s an attitude that I want to take to make sure I do my best to share my experiences and knowledge with others. I’m playing the long-game on this one!
2. Make someone random I don’t know feel happy!
Simple! Well… Not quite, because again this is not a tick box goal. I want to try each day to make someone I don’t know feel good. Even if it’s just smiling and chatting with you barista in the morning or helping someone with something where there’s no other motivation than to give and make someone smile. If we all did this, the world would be a nice place.
3. Run 750km!
So this is roughly the distance from Sydney To Ballina! I’ll log some progress shots through out the year and I know this is the one that people are going to try and trip me up on! So watch the map!
So now I throw the challenge out to you! Forget the new years resolutions that so easily fade into oblivion! Set yourself some goals for the year! Tell me about them! I’d love to hear from you and know what you want to achieve in 2016!
But overall, have a great year and I’m looking forward to posting lots more on the adventures of life!
Hi I'm David Gregory and this is my blog...
(If you're an Australian there's a great movie reference in what I just said), if not watch The Castle, and be completely confused by our humour! Then watch Troll 2 and be completely perplexed by American humour. Ok so it's suppose to be horror, but seriously... it's not, it's hilarious! Please watch it, despite the low ratings, it should be on everyone's to watch list!
Ok so before I get bogged down in movie reviews, which is not what this blog's about, I have a passion for education outside the classroom. There's so much to learn about the world and about oneself outside the confines of school. Since people learn more effectively from actually doing things, rather than just studying them, this blog's all about experiential education. The challenges, the opportunities and the amazing learning moments that happen!
So what the hell do you know?
Good question! Years ago I found myself employed as a teacher, quite by accident and not by design, a long story I will no doubt share at some point. However, after having had a job in sales, then one as a political advisor and then a computer technician. I finally found myself in education, teaching high school English, which bored me to no end! No matter what I tried, kids were disengaged and just didn't want to know anything about analysing texts...
Then one day I got involved in a local army cadet unit. Suddenly working with teenagers was completely different! The fact they were out of the classroom and being challenged was fantastic. I saw that teaching problem solving skills that could be applied to a wide variety of situations was developing these kids into young adults in a really positive way. From this moment I was hooked. This was what I wanted to be doing! This is what I had to be doing!
So fifteen years later, and having had many unique opportunities to travel and teach, I'm still involved in experiential education. I've planned and executed countless trips and activities, which have varied from overnight primary school camps, to the classic Canberra excursion, to a number of long-stay residential programs lasting up to 6 months!!!
Risk management and student safety has always been a priority for any activity I've been on and I'll keep referring back to this throughout the blog, as one of my aims is to help make any excursion away from school a safe and enjoyable one.
This doesn't mean we wrap kids in cotton wool, because that's just stupid, pointless and ultimately damaging. As educators, we need to push the boundaries and challenge kids beyond their comfort zone! We need kids to have real experiences away from technology, away from the classroom, and somewhere they can learn by doing!
I'm always looking for new, exciting and engaging challenges for kids and keen to hear the stories of others and what can be powerful learning moments for both kids and teachers. Feel free to get in touch, say hi or send through some of your greatest activities and learning moments. I'll be doing a couple of different monthly features on cool activities and excursions you might want to try with your kids. So come and join me on this amazing journey :)