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Every now and then I receive e mail from one of the readers of my column. Sometimes I get words of praise and there are times that I get a reality check of how I could have done better.

This week I received an e mail from a “troubled teacher” who wants to remain anonymous. She has five years to go before she can retire with the magic eighty- five factor ; ‘she doesn’t want to be ostracized by her peers and department head’.

As a teacher over the years she has been involved with a number of educational trips, usually same-day junkets to local attractions. In all cases there has been a direct relevance to the students’ studies For example students traveling to Quebec must be studying French.

For the past few years, however she has noticed that some teachers have turned this concept into nothing more than an inexpensive tax free holiday for themselves and their friends/ spouses.

Miss Troubled kindly referred me to EF Tours web site that many of our local school teachers access to take students on Winter/summer break trips. The site speaks of their goals: ‘To bring the world to as many students as possible.’ They have a vast variety of options: ‘Tour Italy, March Break, for ten days, three star hotel, with the students bunking three to four to a room.’

“Teachers who act as Group Leaders are responsible for organizing and helping participants throughout the trip. While most Group Leaders are educators, anyone who has an interest in travel and would like to organize a group can lead a tour.”

EF has a web site on the Benefits of Leading a Group www.eftours.ca/rewards.“To ensure a safe and appropriate teacher student ratio, EF includes one chaperoned place for every six paying participants. And for every additional six paying participants another chaperone is earned”. In other words chaperones travel free as long as they recruit willing student travelers.

The all inclusive Italian trip costs parents $2,416. It is never mentioned that out of this amount that $400. is going towards paying the teacher/chaperones expenses. The group leaders receives a travel grant of $200. for every student above the complement.

‘The additional chaperones can be non-departmental co-workers friends or spouses.’

The only affinity to the curriculum is the ability to come up with the cash. There is no educational component requirement for students to travel.

The “Refer a Teacher” paragraph has some interesting news. “ You can earn $1,000. or up to 300 Global points once the tour has departed for referring a friend or colleague as a new EF group leader.” Help us to get to know your colleagues to-day. Their students will be glad you did. The more tours you’ve led the more points you will receive for your referral”

The teachers can promote the trip and have you the tax paying parents pick up the tab for their travels.

My conscientious Troubled Teacher wrote me that: “If the public doesn’t mind then that is okay. But at least they should be informed of how these things operate. Perhaps, Len you will have the courage to tell it as it is”.

Now you know how the teacher chaperoned student E F school trips work. Do you have any concerns?

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com