Wednesday 5 Sep, 2012

Back to school means Inauguration preparations are in full swing

Josh is known at his school for sporting a tie every day, and he has some pretty unique ones. A friend wondered if this is a tie so tacky that Josh wouldn’t wear it to Inauguration. Josh doesn’t think so.
While he’s getting his students ready for the trip, his friend is scouring the world over (thank you, online shopping!) for the tackiest tie.
Here, Josh shows his election-season spirit with his presidential portraits tie.


There are plenty of things to check off the back-to-school list. For teachers who are getting ready to take students to the 2013 Inauguration in January, this back-to-school season is especially packed.

Group Leader Josh W. from Texas shared a few of the ways he’s getting his travelers ready for the big day. He’s also using the buzz of the new school year to enroll a few more travelers on his Inauguration tour.

Getting travelers in a Presidential mindset

It’s important for travelers to feel a connection to the election, even though most won’t be able to vote. “I want them to feel like they have a horse in the race,” Josh said.

Having a deeper knowledge and understanding about the candidates and the election process will make the Inauguration a much richer experience.

How is Josh making the election personal for his students? Each one of Josh’s travelers will participate in a three-part assignment. They’ll reflect on their own opinions about important issues and choose a candidate that they think best represents their own views. They’ll have to research and record the position of their candidate on several main issues. They’ll share their findings, and how well—or not so well—the candidate matches their personal views.

Since not all Josh’s travelers are his students, they’ll have a few short meetings after school this fall and go over their findings.

Getting ready for the big trip

Josh said attending orientation this summer really helped him feel prepared as a Group Leader for the Inauguration tour, and in the next few months he’ll pass on that knowledge to his chaperones and travelers.

Most important thing he learned: “I took from the orientation that EF EF Explore America works hard to make sure the experience is fun for students as well as chaperones. I feel like I’m going to get as much out of the trip as my students!”

Most important expectation setting for students: “I think the students need to be prepared for the whole fanfare of the occasion. Most students don’t realize how our government throws a party, and  I want them to be enthralled with the Inauguration, not overwhelmed by it. This includes making sure they are dressed warm, know how to find me without a cell phone, and reminding them not to run off. I know the students are beyond excited just to travel (some for the first time), and it’s important that I keep a level head and help them have a safe, successful and unforgettable trip.”

Getting a few more travelers on board

With all the freshmen starting school and clubs kicking off the new year, Josh is taking advantage of the new school year buzz to promote his tour.

Freshmen Orientation Josh has flyers and information ready to go for incoming freshmen and their parents when they come to orientation.

Fellow teachers Josh teaches government and economics, and has mostly seniors in class, so he’s tapped into his network of fellow teachers to talk up the trip to their students.

Where the kids are As the debate coach, Josh had a way to reach out to students not in his classes. He also got the student council and National Honors Society advisors on board to promote the trip, and found that students active in those organizations had a high interest in traveling to Inauguration.

The chance of a lifetime

As a government teacher and someone who has always had an interest in politics, going to Inauguration is pretty exciting for Josh. But, he said what he is looking forward to more is giving his students the chance to say, “I was there.”

Remember our Inauguration tour trailer? Watch it again for a guaranteed excitement boost for January!