School trips are something that seventh and eighth graders look forward to every year. It’s a way to get away from cramped school days, but still have a fun learning experience. Unfortunately, feedback from the trips this year has indicated that not everything about the trips was positive. A few students believed that the trip had some rules that were considered unreasonable and were being enforced in an unjust way. In a survey taken by the Scroll, 41 percent of students felt that the rules that were enforced on the trips were not fair. Also, 50 percent of students said that they would change the rules about where they were allowed to be during their free time.
“I would change the rule about having to be in three specific locations,” said Esin Yurdanur, an eighth grader who went on the Outward Bound trip. “I think the campus was very safe, so if they expanded the area that we were allowed to be in, it would be more fun.”
On the grade eight trip, some students felt that there were rules that were too strict. In the eighth grade, when only a few students weren’t where they were supposed to be during free time, the teachers restricted the whole grade to only three specific places. When one person did something wrong, the whole grade was affected. In some ways, this tactic can be very helpful, but in other situations it leaves kids unsatisfied and confused with the punishment system.
Of course, there are times for fun and times to learn on the trips, but there needs to be a good balance of that in order for it to be successful for the students and adults. When it was a time for fun however, students found that the rules often stood in the way of having an enjoyable time. If students wanted to do something quiet together in their room, they weren’t allowed to invite other kids into the room because they weren’t allowed in. If rules are getting in the way of fun, teachers and instructors of the activities need to be aware of student feedback. Students had no opportunity to voice their concerns to the teachers, so many of their suggestions went unheard.
When students were surveyed on what rule they would change on their trips, the majority of students said they would change the fact that they weren’t allowed to go into each other’s rooms. “I wanted to be allowed to go to other people’s rooms and have the opportunity to observe and take in my surroundings outside instead of only being stuck in my room during down time,” said Abby Dichter, a seventh grader who went to the Rhyd-y-creuau trip for the orange team.
Mrs. Tracy Steege, the seventh grade team leader, explained why some of these rules were in place. She said, “What happened when we allowed kids in other people’s rooms was that there would be 10 people in a room and someone would knock on the door and they’d not let them in.” The issue for Mrs. Steege was about being inclusive. She explained that students were always able to hang out with friends in places other than their rooms. “They can talk in other free areas like the hall or the commons area,” said Mrs. Steege.
However, this was different for the Outward Bound trip as there were only three designated areas you could be with people outside of your room. Mr. Mike Boodey, the eighth grade team leader, said, “there’s not a lot of time to be in other people’s rooms,” although there were multiple issues of kids being punished for doing exactly that. There was an absence of confidence in the eighth grade student body, especially if they felt they couldn’t trust the group to have the responsibility to be in an area where a teacher was not ‘on duty.’
Also, if the teachers are going to punish a student, then that one kid should get punished instead of the entire group or the entire group getting punished over one student’s actions. On the eighth grade trip, a few student weren’t where they were supposed to be during free time, which caused teachers to limit the free areas to only three places. Though the majority of the grade was following the rules, the actions of a few individuals caused all of the students to be restricted into certain areas.