Chaperoning School Performance TripsTeri Aitchison
It is great that you’re interested in chaperoning school performance trips. Thank you! Your role is to help get the kids safely and happily through the challenges of their action-packed itineraries. You are an extension of trip leadership and a liaison to it for the students. Directors will have high expectations of you, and your number one reason for being on a trip is to support the leaders and kids. As a chaperone, you must always focus on what’s best for the group, even if your student is on the trip.
An effective chaperone is one who is fair, firm, and consistent. You must be comfortable with students of varying ages and backgrounds, and familiar with the school’s behavioral expectations. Some of the best chaperones come from booster organizations – those actively involved with the program. The travel goal is that students enjoy the trip and participate in valuable educational and social opportunities. All adult chaperones must work together to make the goal become the reality.
An essential trait for anyone chaperoning school performance trips is a genuine comfort with and desire to interact with high school and middle school students. Chaperone responsibilities are substantial: a rapid, non-stop series of constant duties, day and night, throughout the trip. Planners always strive to make trips safe, enjoyable, educational, and memorable for student performers. But no good chaperone should view a band/choir/orchestra trip as a vacation.
The 4 keys to being a good chaperone are: Energy, Positive Mental Attitude, Flexibility, and Good Leadership:
- Please know that your MTC Tour Director is not a chaperone. He or she can alert you to a problem, but she or he cannot discipline or otherwise correct student or adult behavior. Please do not ask your tour director to address the noise level on the coach, profanity from students or other adults, or any rules infractions. If your intervention does not fix the situation, it should be immediately brought to the attention of the Director/Staff.
- Understand that some venues and events limit the number of chaperones allowed to participate. This is not a Music Travel Consultants rule, but one set by the festival, workshop or performance site organizers. For example, only a couple of chaperones are allowed into backstage rehearsals at Carnegie Hall or into a workshop at Disneyland or Walt Disney World.
- Chaperoning can be abundantly rewarding. If you are a good chaperone, you will form lifelong bonds with the students and the other adults with whom you travel. You might not have much downtime, but you will help to shape the lives of so many teenagers, to be there and share in some of their once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Rewards like that don’t get much better!
Pre-Trip Tips for Preparing Chaperones:
Reading motor coach, hotel, and behavior rules several days before the trip will ensure that chaperones, staff and everyone else is on the same page. MTC recommends that school staff and all chaperones (and all students and other adults, if possible) familiarize themselves with the following topics before trip departure: