OPINION: Teachers should consult parents before riling kids up about costly field trips

In the last few months, my 16-year-old son and I have been at odds regarding a field trip that his high school band teacher is organizing. I would love to have feedback from readers regarding this issue – those with kids in high school only, please (reason being, as a parent with kids in high school, you will understand what I’m talking about).     

In general, field trips are great for students. The idea for school field trips is to introduce the students to a new environment where they will have an opportunity to learn ‘outside of the box’ in a fun atmosphere. Kids, especially teenagers, love field trips. The best part of school trips for the teens is that they get away from their parents for a few days. They get to hang out with their friends at a hotel/lodge/camp and get into mischief, generating stories that they will reminisce about at their 10-year reunion.     

I’m OK with this. I totally agree field trips are an essential part of the education experience, I just don’t agree on how the cost is not discussed with the parents prior to choosing the destination.

My teen’s teachers decided to go somewhere exotic, a place I would love to visit one day when I can afford it. The cost quoted for this destination is $3000 for a 10-day trip. My jaw dropped when I read the letter from the school outlining what teachers were planning. My teen is, of course, excited. Who wouldn’t be? I would be ecstatic if my parents paid for me to go to an amazing locale.

I am not excited. The destination is not essential for my teen to learn about life – in fact, if anything, it’s too exotic a destination to learn anything of value other than having a great holiday! Yes, it has history, but my teen is not going to go to the museums unless he is dragged there and then it’s still going to be wasted on him as he’s not into that.              

So, the discussion in the Sandhu family home is this: should the teachers have talked to the parents first about this potential destination and the cost associated with it, prior to getting the students input?

This is how my teen’s teachers handled this: suggesting a destination to the students, getting them excited about it and then presenting the outrageous ticket price to the parents, through the students.     

My son feels the letter notifying the parents was sufficient notice, I don’t. Saying no to my son is difficult now – he is excited. His friends are going, it’s an experience of a lifetime, it’s going to be so much fun, and on, and on, went the list of reasons why he should go, and why I can’t say no, because the whole trip will be cancelled.

I feel the teachers should have sought the parents input via email since it’s the parents who are going to be paying a majority of the cost, if not all. Not all families can afford an extravagant field trip like this one.

I feel sorry for the student who can’t afford to go. He or she will always remember that. A heartache that could be avoided if parents’ input was first obtained. 

As for my son, he’s been informed that he will be paying two thirds of the cost if he wants to go.

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