5 things to say before separating from your students

March 6, 2009 | Field Trips | RSS 2.0

Last weekend I had the pleasure of escorting one of my gymnasts to the state championship meet.  When the coaches met with the girls, we had two “B” rules for them:  use the Buddy system, and no Boys in their rooms.  (Of course my gymnast was the one who went ga-ga for the wrestlers there for that tournament).

Anyway, being off-campus with students made me think – “Do these girls know what to do in case of an emergency?”  That thought led me to recall the 5 Point Contingency Plan we used in the Army.  If you were going to separate from your unit (something that Civil Affairs does quite a bit), it was important that both your team and those staying behind understood the following:

  1. Where you are going

  2. Others you are taking with you

  3. Time you expect to return

  4. What to do if you don’t return

  5. Actions to be taken if you/they make contact with the enemy

This outline was drilled into me head by crusty old Sergeant First Class Jackson, who spent much of his early military career in the Air Cav.  He was my battalion’s supply sergeant, but I learned more about leadership from him than any of my “official” leadership schools.

Obviously #5 needs to be modified for the civilian world – but we can say “in case of emergency” instead of “make contact with the enemy” and it will still meet the same need.  This template is a great thing to use on field trips where kids are allowed out of sight of faculty.  Hopefully you’ll never need to actually implement the information in steps 4 and 5, but better to be ready and not need it than the other way around.

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