Funding your trip - some ideas!
Participating in a field experience is a fantastic way to increase your understanding of the world of geoscience. I understand that many advertised field experiences can be very expensive. I work hard to keep the cost as inexpensive as possible because I know that teachers and students have limited funds. I do this by not charging a ridiculous overhead and working with accommodation and other groups to secure great deals. At the end of the day, I want to make the trips I run affordable for as many people as possible. My promise to you is that if you attend one of my trips you will get great value for the money and have a life-changing experience.
So while I can't provide an additional financial support, I know that many teachers who have participated in previous trips I have led have had part or all of their trips funded using the following methods.
1. Fund For Teachers- I have led many trips that have included teachers who used Fund For Teachers. Teachers who receive a grant through Fund For Teachers have all of their expense paid for. Fund for Teachers "enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the globe that will have the greatest impact on their practice, the academic lives of their students and on their school communities. To help teachers with the application process, Fund For Teachers offers many information sessions and webinars". Check out their calendars for events near you.
2. Your school or school district. Often funding is available - but not widely advertised. Ask, ask and ask again. Even a small amount can make a difference - I have had teachers attend trips who had anything from a days meals to the airfares paid by their school district. Make sure you go to your principal and/or superintendent prepared i.e. know how you will be able to share your experience to enhance the teaching in your school and/or district and how you will be able to disseminate materials to other teachers. Be able to show how your attendance will greatly enhance the teaching of Earth science for all. Remember, it doesn't hurt to ask! The worse they can say is no.
3. Local chapters of service clubs (Lyons, Rotary etc). Again, be ready to offer them back a talk at a meeting with slides of what you did and saw and how it will enhance your students experience in the classroom. If you can prove how your experience will help the community in general, you will have a greater chance of being funded. Find out what the clubs local focus is. For example, if they focus on the local library, offer to come back and talk at the library and provide the library with a great sample for display. Click here for a draft letter you can use to help you write your own (opens in a new tab).
4. Rural teachers - Rural Trust's Global Teacher Fellowship website. Up to 25 fellowships are awarded to support the professional and personal development of rural teachers. The awards (up to $5,000 for individual teachers and $10,000 for a team of two or more teachers) support teachers' participation in self-designed summer learning experiences and a two-day place-based learning institute in the fall. Teachers are encouraged to center their learning in an international travel and study experience, out of which they develop interdisciplinary, place-based learning curricula aligned with their specific state and local content standards. Eligibility: Any K–12 teacher working full-time and teaching at least 60% time in a rural community can apply for the fellowship.
5. National Education Association (NEA) Members : The NEA "Learning & Leadership Grants" support National Education Association (NEA) members who are public school teachers, public education support professionals, and/or faculty and staff in public institutions of higher education for one of the following two purposes:
- Grants to individuals fund participation in high-quality professional development experiences, such as summer institutes, conferences, or action research
- Grants to groups fund collegial study, including study groups, action research, lesson plan development, or mentoring experiences for faculty or staff.
6. Students - become a member of a participating geological society! Often we can offer a discount to members, such as student members of the Geological Society of Australia. The discount on the trip is always way more than the cost to be a member...so you spend a little to save a lot.