Teacher on tour

3rd January 2012 by

This summer’s Tastetastic! cycle tour is open to all ages over 18, and we’ve timed it so that any teachers in England and Wales who want to take part can volunteer. Chris Hardy, a teacher at Fulham Cross Girls’ School, tells us about his experience on tour and what it has brought to his day-to-day life, including his teaching.

I went on Otesha’s Wild West cycle tour in 2008, shortly before beginning my teacher training – and taking part in an Otesha cycle tour wasn’t only an amazing experience in itself, but it was hugely beneficial as a teacher.

Teacher Chris Hardy helps build an earthen structure while volunteering on cycle tour in 2008

I learned a huge number of skills in a short space of time. Not theoretical skills about behaviour management or educational theory, but real life skills about how to deal with a room full of people, how to grab people’s attention and how to get your message across in an engaging and entertaining way. Now I can bring that back to the classroom, it’s given me some valuable new tools and techniques.

As a tour member, you spend time living in a community, learn consensus decision making and cooking for large groups – brilliant skills for a teacher to have, and useful in your everyday life when tackling disagreements or making choices and decisions with others – including in the classroom.

You also learn how to plan and deliver a short play about sustainable life choices. This play is followed by various workshops, all of which you learn how to deliver on cycle tour.

They are mini lessons which are designed to be hands-on, engaging and educational. Having this experience before or during time teaching is invaluable and something I’m still thankful for now, two years on in my teaching career. It has given me flexibility and confidence in lesson planning and encouraged me to set up my own after-school activities and clubs.

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