Advice for Teachers

Advice for Teachers from Teachers

You can find advice below from our Teacher feedback survey. The question we asked was: what advice would you give a “first time teacher” to SOES? Let us know if there's anything you think we should add.

Reasons to come on a trip with your students

  • Just go, you will have a lot of fun!
  • GO! Don't be afraid of the unknown. The kids will love it and you will gain a new perspective of them
  • Try something new and let the kids do things they may not have any experience doing. It will make for some good class memories. Also, take lots of pictures!
  • Relax, the staff at SOES are really great and that they generally take care of everything once you arrive
  • Just to enjoy the program and appreciate that most students have not been up north and this is a memory that most will keep for many years to come

How to be prepared

  • Be prepared for any weather
  • Make sure that all of your forms are organized early
  • Use the checklist that is provided so that you don't forget anything
  • Rest up before you go
  • Speak with someone who has been there before about the "little things" that need to be done
  • Prepare to participate in various activities

Things to bring that aren’t on the packing list

  • Movies for the bus (that have to be DVDs)
  • Bring a laptop, books, for the nights
  • Bring a story book to lull them to sleep

What attitude should I approach my trip with

  • Don't be afraid to try all the activities with your students and get dirty
  • Participate alongside the students
  • Remember this is fun time to get to know and interact with your students
  • Relax and have fun, be positive and flexible
  • Go with the flow. Let the SOES staff do their job and you do yours
  • Keep a positive attitude, especially in front of the students
  • Enjoy! Oh, and don't worry if you forgot something, since all the equipment you need can be loaned to you!
  • Be active and participate in the activities as the kids love when teachers do and it makes the trip more enjoyable than just watching
  • I would encourage a first time teacher to ask SOES staff for anything they may need and to openly communicate about the plans for the days. There are a lot of times and rules to remember, so it doesn't hurt to clarify.


  • For cabins, read iPad in chair by the bunks after lights out. Then you can monitor if they are going to sleep or trying to joke around. Discuss a consequence for those who keep others awake beforehand.
  • Use a story book to lull them to sleep
  • The first time I was there, I got some bedtime advice that was really helpful. Even for someone who has worked with kids for ages (or even a parent), it was helpful to have some advice for settling the kids down and getting them to sleep. I have done 6 trips now, and the kids talk about how notoriously strict I am at bedtime.... Once the lights are out, I sit in the room until they are snoring and do not tolerate any talking. I found the Lodge a harder setting for this technique, but it is good if the kids know you are there listening.

Here’s some longer more detailed responses that are great to read by themselves

"Participate in the activities. Ban electronics. We permitted some usage during free time, but in hindsight that distracted some of the kids from the experience."

"BE PREPARED! Check the weather, model appropriate dress for the students, pack a positive attitude and have fun with the students. Keep your students in check so the SOES staff can enjoy a positive experience too. Be sensitive to your students' individual needs. I had the advantage of knowing almost all students on this trip very well as I have taught most of them 2 or 3 times. When students are out of their usual routines new behaviours may emerge. Some have never slept away from home before, or had to share their sleeping space with so many others."

"Pre-teach some material i.e., what are environmental issues that Canada must deal with (Gr 6 Social Studies curriculum) and can students find examples at Kearney; use of natural resources for First Nations to help understand how difficult their lifestyle was (starting a fire, making clothing, hunting animals in snow, keeping warm, identifying helpful/poisonous plants in the forest); learning how to read a compass on a map and orient themselves (Scavenger hunt around the school building and or school property); demonstrate how to take liners in and out of boots; learning how to set a table and use table manners; discuss expectations with class regarding listening to and respecting new teachers (the SOES staff)."