SUPPORTING EACH OTHER IN THE FIELD OVER A CUP OF COFFEE
17 December 2021
At The Outdoor Education Group, we ensure all those who join us outdoors, including our visiting school staff, are well supported and comfortable; this leads to a memorable and fulfilling program for everyone! During program, our Outdoor Educators co-create a facilitation team with school staff, combining their areas of skill and experience to maximise the benefits for your students. By being aware of and supporting each other at all times, our field team and visiting school staff ensure each others’ wellbeing and the quality of educational outcomes for your students. The first step towards this is all about communication, and what better way to start this than over a cup of your favourite hot beverage?
If you ask any Outdoor Educator, coffee certainly seems to fuel our industry and we have a feeling many teachers would agree! Whether it’s the cup starting our morning or the one enjoyed over lunch, we really enjoy our coffee and it’s even known to have positive health benefits.
BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS THROUGH OUR JOINT SUPERVISION PLAN
As in our social lives, coffee is the silent helper building partnerships during our programs. One of the first things our Outdoor Educators will do when they first meet with their group’s teacher is ask them if they are a coffee, tea or hot chocolate drinker; it’s a great way to get to know each other and allows the two parties to ease into conversation. Over that first cup of coffee, our Outdoor Educators often discover the teacher’s experiences in the outdoors, their favourite spots and their expectations; it also allows the teacher to pass on relevant information about the students helping the Outdoor Educator effectively manage the group during the program.
Our Outdoor Educators rely on teacher support to ensure the school rules are being followed on camp; this forms part of our Joint Supervision Plan.
The Joint Supervision Plan is discussed at the beginning of program and regularly revisited as the relationship develops between the Outdoor Educator and school staff member.
SUPPORTING EACH OTHER THROUGH THE JOURNEY
As with some of our visiting students, for the supporting school staff member, going out on the program can be something unfamiliar, pushing them beyond their comfort zones. Having a moment in the morning or during the day to sit quietly in a wonderful natural setting to have a coffee or a hot drink can bring a sense of calm to their day - our Outdoor Educators are able to provide this space and support for them and recognise when it’s needed. We have often found, the first cup of coffee in the morning, shared with the school staff member before the students are up and about, is the perfect time to talk about the day ahead and strengthen our relationship.
During the day, particularly if it has been an action-packed morning, knowing the coffee break is coming up is a great motivator; this break is an excellent time for the Outdoor Educator and school staff member to have 15 minutes to themselves or even to get together to reflect on the day and what may or may not need to change for the rest of the day.
“BUT YOU ONLY EVER GET INSTANT COFFEE ON CAMP”
We have heard this before, but our incredible Catering team ensure both the school staff members and our Outdoor Educators are well catered for. We provide freshly ground and locally roasted coffee in all our catering packs because we know the view from the top of a mountain or the rest after a long cycle is even sweeter with a fresh cup a’ joe.
Admittedly, steaming milk in the bush does bring its challenges. However, our Outdoor Educators have become very adept at using a variety of different methods to produce a coffee - the cowboy coffee method is a tried and true technique and produces surprisingly great results; it also gives us time for further conversation as our coffee brews. Other solutions include the ubiquitous Aeropress, which is great because it’s light, almost unbreakable and the result is great for camp coffee. And, of course, there are many out there that swear by the classic moka pot.
At the end of the day, whatever your style or beverage of choice, it’s the journey that counts and the opportunity it allows for connection, communication and providing support to each other. Even though we are immersed in nature and understand the benefits it brings for students and ourselves, knowing there is also a support mechanism available for each party is so critical - the fact it can also come with a fine hot beverage is an added bonus.