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How I saved my history class

Moving to a new school I had high hopes for myself, I was determined to not be a run-of-the-mill History teacher. I was going to inspire, engage and bring Henry the 8th back to life! After approximately 2 months I found myself doing exactly the opposite of what I had set out to do. My students were uninterested, unresponsive and often misbehaved during my classes. I was doing my best to excite my students using sheets, colours and textbooks. They had more interest in their iPhones then passing their exams and especially the younger ones were asking me quizzically ‘Why are we learning this?’ I found myself feeling exhausted, disheartened and on the brink of giving up.

After finding various suggestions online (puppet shows, PowerPoints and podcasts), I came across The STA Travel Education website. The idea is simple; don’t leave learning to the classroom! Introduce students to culture and let them become engulfed by the subject.

I was blown away, the choices were endless and subject appropriate to boot! I was surprised to find the schedules were detailed but not restrictive, giving me room for the creative flare I had been craving!
I quickly shared the details of various trips and excursions to fellow teachers at my school, looking for a nod of approval. Following that I organised a meeting with the head teacher.

Prior to the meeting the head had explained to me that being a small school we don’t have the largest budget and it’s difficult to get students engaging with standard school trips. Often numbers fall so small we are forced to closed trips. Despite this, she agreed to the meeting. My foot was in the door!

After presenting to the head, she was impressed with my knowledge of the tours, I didn’t disclose that it had been passed on to me by a STA Travel expert, I wanted some glory to myself.
She explained that if I was passionate enough then I would have to organise it myself, under her watchful eye, of course. From the very beginning I was amazed at the support I was offered. My calls were always answers by attentive and helpful travel experts who had vast experience. As well as this, online support materialised in the form of template letters, promotional posters that I could use to advertise around school and prepared PowerPoints that I could show to students. 

Needless to say I was popular on Monday morning when I entered my History class. Endless questions on travel times, application forms and checklists.  Students were practically packing their bags in front of me. I was delighted to see them all so excited and about history!

I began to feel huge amount of achievement and somewhat of a break through with my students. They were well behaved on the trip and I began to see them get excited about topics that had real relevance to their learning. When we returned from the trip I instantly saw a difference in the students as they were more engaged and were applying the knowledge they had accumulated on tour, using it in classroom situations. Not only were they engaging in class but they were also applying themselves to written work and homework. It was a happy and proud moment when my department was commended at the end of year ceremonies an accomplishment for my department and a strong start for me and my career.

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