Educator planners – the priceless experience teachers bring to travel planning

Oct 26, 2017

Travel Notes

When it comes to planning incredible student travel experience, educators simply know best. That’s what we’ve found in our 35 years in this business and what sets our planning team apart from our colleagues in the industry. Bob Rogers, our founder and former band director, entered the travel industry with a valuable perspective on how to plan performance travel in a way that anticipates what directors and their students need, every step of the way. Since our inception, we’ve sought out former music educators to bring that same rich experience to our clients. Today, we have a team of educators – and we’re sharing two of their stories with you!

Alyssa Hosking

My background

I worked as a high school choir director for a total of six years. I spent four years at a high school in the southwest suburbs of Chicago that had around 1,000 students, and two years at a high school in the east suburbs of Austin, Texas that had around 2,100 students. At both positions I oversaw the entire choral program, working with curricular and extra-curricular choirs as well as directing the musical.

What teaching means to me

Working with those kids and watching their love of music and individual talents blossom was really the joy of my career. Teaching is one of the hardest jobs in the world because of all the planning, preparation and paperwork that goes in outside of actually working with students. Making music together creates a unique bond that is not found in any other type of classroom, I can still think back to specific performances where my students moved me to tears. Knowing that my students found success in school and in life, even now as many of my former students enter the work place, still brings a smile to my face. I might not be their teacher anymore, but I will always be there for them if they need me.

How teaching helps me plan

As I put trips together, I find myself still thinking of the trip as a director. Where will the students learn the most and grow the most musically and also, where will they learn the most and grow the most personally, and that’s how I start every itinerary I build. It’s been great working closely with directors especially since I understand how hard their job is and I try to make this part of it easy, and hopefully, enjoyable.

When experience saves the day

As a director, one of the things I dreaded was collecting money for trips and trying to keep everything organized, on top of organizing my school budgets and fundraisers and extra-curricular budgets and fundraisers. So I encourage our clients to take advantage of our online payment system. One of my clients works in a school where he is the only director and is in charge of his entire program including the budget and fundraising. Once I explained how this system works and how much it will make his trip planning easier he was so excited that we offered this service for our clients and couldn’t wait to use it. 

David Brachmann

My background

For four years, I taught middle school band for grades 6-8, as well as beginning 5th grade band. Following that experience I taught full time as a high school band director for years. There were two separate campuses in the district and I was the band director for both with a combined 2,300 students. I taught Intro to Music Theory, AP Music Theory, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Jazz Band and Intro to Guitar. I also ran after school activities including Marching Band, Pep Band, Pit Orchestra for the Musical, Winter Guard, and Tri-M National Honor Society.

What teaching means to me

I loved working with the students and being able to make great music. Seeing the growth from the first read-through to the concert was very encouraging.

How teaching helps me plan

My experience helps me know what a day in the life of a director really looks like. And I know first-hand the enormous bonding that can happen on this sort of trip. So every time I’m putting a trip together I know that I am creating thousands of memories that will stick with these students forever.

When experience saves the day

There have been several times when a director started to explain something and I was just immediately able to relate because I had at one point or another been in that exact situation. Each type of director has different concerns and I can relate to most of them:

  • A band director might be worried about their instrumentation and I experienced how that is a constant worry from year to year.
  • An orchestra director might be worried about where they are going to store their string basses or how they will safely travel with them on the bus, and I have years of experience lugging around equipment (I’m a percussionist, so it’s part of the gig).
  • A choir director might be concerned about the type of keyboard that will be onsite to accompany their ensemble at a church performance, and I know the importance of having a quality instrument available to them.

For all types of directors, it helps to know their concerns and priorities from having been in their shoes.

Alyssa and David are just two of our educators-turned-planners, but their stories echo the experience so many of our travel consultants bring to the life-changing trips we plan for students. Learn more about our team of former educators, musicians and travel professionals here.

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