One of the interesting parts about being an international teacher is that my students are very international! Many of them are dual citizens and have family homes in other countries. Many of them extend school holidays so they can be sure to spend as much time as possible with their family members abroad. As a teacher this can cause a few problems in the classroom. As a global citizen I can see the importance of international travel for children of any age. How to find the balance?
Admin always asks us to send as much school work that they would be missing as we can. This way, students who miss school wont have to struggle to do new work and complete missing work once they come back. The problem is that this work we send only gets done half the time…or less.
I assign things like: read the chapter book your lit circle is reading while you are gone and choose your ten favorite new words to write definitions for. Or, play the Front Row app to work on a certain Common Core Math standards (I can get data and see how well they do on various problems). Or, since we have been studying Black History for the past few weeks, write a mini biography book about a chosen person in black history. Even basic math worksheets aren’t getting done! These things which seem to be very portable, and easily done, especially with the help of adults or the internet, do not always get done while they are traveling. What do we do about it?
I get it too! I don’t like to lesson plan while I’m on vacation either! However, if I had something due the week after vacation, you better bet that I would have it done on time.
If my students were older I would try flipping the classroom. I don’t have too much hope for flipping when things like Front Row, which is a gamified math practice doesn’t work for them. How do other teachers deal with students who take time off to travel (or are away from school for whatever reason) for an extra week, two weeks, a month, or an entire quarter?
Most of the time, we give the student extra days to make up the work once they get back and try to catch them up. I send them with videos to watch at home and resend the work that I already sent with them. However, I feel like nothing can really make up for the time they lost in class unless they have a highly qualified tutor working one on one with them.
I think international travel is the best thing! In fact, I have read several blogs and articles about families who home school their children and travel the world. That is so ridiculously amazing! Anyone can learn so much from a simple trip to another country, but how do you balance this great opportunity with schooling that their families are paying so much for?
Please comment! Are there any teachers or parents out there with a little insight? How would you handle frequent or a large number of absences due to travel?