A recent comment on the blog asked whether we had considered the impact of our expedition on our Carbon Footprint. The short answer is 'yes', the long answer is much trickier and can be seen by clicking here. Essentially, are we damaging the environment by trying to educate people about the damage they are doing? Another 'tricky' issue is that of cover. Will the education of my students suffer because I'm trying to improve their education?
A number of plans have been put in place to safeguard my students:
- I haven't been given any exam classes (Y11 and Y13) this year.
- I'm on unpaid leave so that the school can fund a long term supply teacher to take on my classes. This provides continuity for the children and ensures that they aren't taught 'cover lessons'.
- The supply teacher position was interviewed for.
- My Y10 and Y12 classes are not going to be taken by the cover teacher, they are going to be taken by full time Geography teachers within the department.
- Full time Geography teachers will also occasionally swap with the long term supply teacher to ensure students are being taught to the correct standard.
- My tutor group are not being taken on by the supply teacher, they are being looked after by an experienced (and brilliant) member of staff.
- I've tried to leave comprehensive handover notes and class lists for the supply teacher, my HOD, the cover tutor and anyone else who would listen!
Me going away for half a term certainly isn't ideal, but if all the plans in place happen, I feel the benefits to the many will far outweigh the upheaval for a few. Indeed some of the few see my trip as a real opportunity for them; one comment in my good luck card read as follows:
"Dear Mr Avery, thank you for all the lovely chocolate this year, please remember to bring us back some from your trip."
Carbon footprints, student welfare, half a term away from my classes ... is my trip South a self-indulgent holiday, or is it an educational expedition designed to inspire young people? I'm convinced of the latter, but I realise I'm biased; what do you think? What other questions do I need to answer to convince you the former is not the case?