During the week I had the chance to chat to Mr Westcott in an interview for the relaunch of the PCS Podcast. We chatted about a range of things from the new building project, to double streaming Kindergarten, and even West Indies cricket in the 80s!
But one thing we talked about that really struck a chord with me is the importance of excursions.
At PCS we do a lot of excursions. All students from Year 3-12 do at least one overnight excursion, while all students do various day trips around the local area. There are subject specific excursions in high school, and lots of sporting opportunities. Sometimes we even cop a bit of criticism for having too many excursions – but I can assure you that every experience is important.
Excursions provide unique learning opportunities for students, and provide them with the chance to learn “soft skills” needed for life, such as leadership, team-building, getting along with different people and being prepared to try new things.
They also provide fantastic memories for our students – in fact, I still remember my first big excursion to Canberra in Year 5 very clearly and I felt so grown up because I got to take the family camera and stay in a hotel room with my friends, instead of my mum and dad!
But most importantly (as Mr Westcott and I talk about in the podcast), excursions provide the opportunity for staff and students to spend time together outside of the classroom and get to know each other better.
If I have learned anything in my years as an educator, it is that building relationships is pretty much the most important thing when teaching high school kids.
I really enjoy getting to know my students, and as I get to know them better, I am able to work out the best ways to help them learn and I can help them to find their future path in life. Excursions provide the perfect opportunity to do this, and I have learned so much about my students over the years while eating dodgy fast food together, playing outrageous board games, singing on the bus, or just having a chat about random stuff while walking to the next location or activity.
This hopefully translates to the classroom, and because I know the students a little better, I can teach them more effectively.
There is a reason we love doing excursions, and I have been amazed to learn recently that there is a growing trend in education for schools to eliminate excursions altogether because they cost too much, or are too difficult to organise.
We will always do excursions at PCS because of the opportunities they provide our students and because they are learning experiences that are so unique and enriching.
Oh and yes – check out the podcast! It’s great!!!