Two weeks ago I began my list of reasons why I became a group leader and why I think you should too! I hope these points inspire you to look into leading your students on an educational tour and showing them the world.
6. Builds Life Long Relationships Around the Globe
Every time I’ve traveled, I’ve met people that I will never forget. I’ve had top-notch tour guides that have become great friends in which I keep in touch with regularly. I’ve met other teachers from around the country that I continue to network with and learn from. I’ve had wonderful conversations with people that I’ve met in airports, restaurants, and hotels. My students have done the same. With the technological advances that we have today, it’s easy and inexpensive to keep in touch with and communicate with these newfound acquaintances on a regular basis. Not only is it fun, interesting, and personally rewarding, but it just might also lead to some type of future opportunity for us.
7. Stand Out in Your Community
In many towns and cities, the local school is often considered the center of the community. Leading student travel allows me the opportunity to play a bigger role within the community. Many local businesses and organizations work with my students and I to provide sponsorships and funding for our travel. My students are often visible at sporting events and other community functions. After our trip, we create a highlight video that is shared with the school and community. We give back whenever possible, including making Christmas cards for the elderly at a local nursing home. This working relationship is not only valuable to both the school and the community, it is both exciting and rewarding. I’ve also learned that it is an excellent recruiting tool as well. I often have future students whom I’ve never met approach me and tell me that they plan to travel with me when they take my class in high school. How cool is that?
8. Be the Cool Teacher
Speaking of cool, leading student travel will without any doubt make you a cool teacher. Students that have traveled with me talk about their experiences with their parents, friends, family, and their peers. Students coming into my classroom for the first time have already heard and learned a great deal about me, and most of it is even good! They don’t seem to care that my class is very challenging because they know that I’m caring, fun, and passionate. My classroom is filled with pictures, posters, videos, and souvenirs of past trips that set the tone for a warm, welcoming, and cool atmosphere that fosters learning.
9. Make Memories and Get Rewarded
Without any doubt, leading student travel is by far the most rewarding thing I do professionally. I’ve traveled to some of the most beautiful places in the world and have made unforgettable memories with people that I will cherish forever. I’ve impacted many lives and am often reminded so by receiving messages and visits from past students. Investing myself into leading student travel has incredible payouts well into the future. I sure hope that my financial investments turn out the same.
10. Get Even More Rewards
As if these previous reasons weren’t enough to convince anybody to lead student travel, there is still one more reason. There are some perks. Although I don’t chose to be a group leader solely because of these reasons, I still enjoy the reward opportunities that EF provides after the hard work is done. These rewards include a Big Group Bonus of $500 for traveling with 25 paying travelers, a Bigger Group Bonus of $1000 for traveling with 30 paying travelers, and an Even Bigger Group Bonus of $2,000 for traveling with 40 paying travelers. I can choose to keep the money for myself or even put it back into the program to fund other expenses, such as a highlight video or thank-you ads in the local newspaper.
EF also provides numerous travel and gift rewards. On one occasion, I chose to cash in my points for a week vacation in Mexico with my wife in which airfare and hotel accommodations were included. In other words, leading student travel allows me to travel even more. I’ve also earned a Mac Desktop computer as well as the MacBook that I am working on at this very moment. I use my computers for personal enjoyment, but also as tools to make me a better and more efficient teacher. In the near future, I also hope to take my wife along on a convention tour in a Spanish speaking country.
It’s hard to believe what a huge difference that little note in my desk has made. Since finding and reading it nearly a dozen years ago, I’ve led 7 trips to 3 different countries. When my students and I travel to Costa Rica this spring, I will be leading my largest group, a group of 35, and will have traveled with over 100 students. I continue to receive numerous emails, messages, and visits from former students that have traveled with me. They reflect on the past and share stories of their present. These students are my family now.
My boss has flat out told me that if I ever quit leading student travel, he would fire me. Although I know he was joking, he certainly makes it clear that he understands the true value in what I do as a teacher and a group leader. But he doesn’t need to worry just yet. I know I’m not done. I hope to lead many more tours and introduce group travel to as many future group leaders as possible. When my time comes, I will surely pass the baton onto the teacher that takes my place.
Scott is a high school Spanish teacher and basketball coach. He began traveling with EF Tours in 2001 and has led 8 student tours to various Spanish-speaking countries. Scott strongly believes that student travel builds self-confidence and inspires students to develop and work towards long-term goals.