In the very early hours of Monday 9th April, I set off for London Gatwick Airport to meet the geographers from Nunnery Wood High School to be their Tour Manager for their annual trip to Sorrento and the Bay of Naples.
Despite not even being 4am (have I mentioned we set off really early?), it was great to be met by a little army of pink t-shirts at the British Airways check-in desks. This was my second tour with Nunnery Wood and they didn’t fail me for a second. Their warm welcome made me feel part of the team from the very first moment and I knew we were going to have a fantastic time!
It was amazing to see the students being wowed by the incredible scenery, history, geography, volcanology and culture that we came across on our journey as we conquered the almighty Mount Vesuvius, went back in time at the ancient ruins of Pompeii, discovered Underground Naples, visited the famous island of Capri and got to the top of Monte Solaro via the super scary (but super exciting) chairlift. We even learnt how to make ‘the real gelato’ in Sorrento (which was, of course, a highlight for the group!).
Educational Tours Operations Manager
All of these were fantastic opportunities to learn outside the classroom and consolidate the students’ knowledge. Everything that they had learnt in Mrs Scoby’s and Mr Allen’s classrooms was coming to life before their very eyes. I am always mesmerised by this process; when something suddenly clicks in a student’s mind and everything falls into place.
In addition to this, and probably even more importantly, I have had the pleasure of seeing this young group develop their personalities. I have seen them make new friends, mix with people they have never met before and be each other’s homes away from home. I have seen them challenging themselves physically and emotionally, supporting each other, consoling each other and most importantly, looking after each other.
These are the reasons I love my job so much and I am so very grateful every time I get the opportunity to go out on tour and see this happening first hand.
In my role in the office as a Tour Coordinator, I work passionately with the party leaders and teachers to plan the best possible itinerary for the group and to ensure that everything is in place for them whilst on tour; but when I have the chance to swap my desk for my walking boots and become a Tour Manager… that’s when everything falls into place for me too.
Then I see clearly why we care so much and we all work so hard at Rayburn: for those very moments; the moments we see these students developing and learning, for those ‘penny-dropping’ moments and those “wow” moments.
That is what makes it all worthwhile for me! (Even despite the very very early starts!)