Frequently Asked Questions for Teachers


General Procedures
1. What is the outdoor school discipline policy?
2. What do I need to do if I need to call a student’s home or my school?
3. What do I do if a cabin leader brings a student to my door in the middle of the night?  
4. What is my role in case of emergency?
5. How can I best communicate with office staff, naturalists, cabin leaders, etc?  
6. Can I use the internet while I am here?
7. Can I use the telephone while I am here?  

Teacher Duties/Responsibilities
1. Can teachers perform on PAC Night, go out on trail, teach an elective, etc?
2. What can I do during Teacher Time (each night right after dinner except Monday, until 7:15)?
3. Are there books/activities/art supplies available to me to use during Teacher Time or for my free time?
4. How do I do cabin inspections?
5. What are the boundaries for recess?
6. What happens during a rainy recess?  
7. How do I know if a student needs to sit out during recess?
8. What are my duties on beach day?
9. What are Super Table Awards?  
10. How do students receive their mail?

Other Miscellaneous Questions
1. Where can I find extra sleeping bags, clothes, etc. at camp?
2. What is the Hard Core Apple Club?
3. Can I give my students snacks/candy while they’re here?  
4. Who do I talk to about maintenance issues in my room?
5. Can I leave Outdoor School at any time this week?
6. Other Questions?  

General Procedures


1. What is the outdoor school discipline policy?
           We have a 4 strike discipline policy.  All strikes are recorded in the Discipline Log (located in a white three ring binder on the filing cabinet above the Evening Director’s desk) and can be given out by a naturalist or a teacher.  Please also inform the Principal, Evening Director, or on-duty medic if you give out strikes.

Strike 1: Official warning and may sit out from a trail activity, one-on-one talk with Evening Director/Naturalist, etc.

Strike 2: Depending on the severity of the offense, the student will sit out of an activity ranging from ½ hour to an hour, preferably at recess or an evening activity.  The student fills out a behavior contract and discusses it with the Evening Director.

Strike 3:  Student sits out of a longer activity ranging from 1.5 to 3 hours.  A second behavior contract is filled out and the student’s parents are called (usually the student speaks with the parents).  It is often best if teachers make the call home as they already have a relationship with the parents, however the SJOE staff is also happy to make the call.

Strike 4: Arrangements are made for the student to be sent home with parents or school personnel.  If this is not possible or happens very late in the week, the student is pulled from the program and stays in the office and sleeps in the sickbay until they are either picked up or go home on the bus on Friday.


Students can jump automatically to a Strike 4 for the following: fighting, threatening to hurt someone, doing something sexually inappropriate, cabin raiding, serious unsafe or disrespectful actions.  If there is a reason that a parent should not be called or a student should not be sent home (possible child abuse, etc) please let the Principal or Evening Director know.  Please feel free to check the Discipline Log at any point in the week to monitor your students’ behavior.  We would be happy to make you copies of the Log and students’ behavior contracts at the end of the week to take back with you to your school.

2. What do I need to do if I need to call a student’s home or my school?
           You are always free to use the office phone for such phone calls.  There are two cordless phones on the Evening Director’s desk and a stationary phone on Grey Wolf’s desk in the main office.  We encourage you to first try the fax line (the gray Uniden phone) to keep the main line open for incoming calls.   Please log any calls you make on our phones in our phone log, also located on the filing cabinet near the Evening Director’s desk.

3. What do I do if a cabin leader brings a student to my door in the middle of the night?
           Every night of the week one of our office staff is on call after 11pm.  The name and phone number of this person will be posted on the main office door each night.  In case of a nighttime emergency, cabin leaders follow instructions in the office to call and/or radio the on-call naturalist for assistance.  However, in the unlikely event that the on-call naturalist is unreachable, a cabin leader may come to your room in Perkins looking for help.             
           One of the most common problems we encounter in the middle of the night is when a student wakes up and has trouble falling back asleep due to homesickness.  If this is the case, we ask that you do your best to calm the student down, chat with them briefly and try and convince them to head back to bed and check in with the medic or office staff in the morning.
           If there is a more serious medical issue, such as a student needing medication or in case of emergency, please try the on-call number again.  If there is still no response, call Grey Wolf at home, 747-9724.

4. What is my role in case of emergency?
           In case of a medical emergency (when a student needs to be taken to the hospital, either via an ambulance or by SJOE staff) we would ask that a teacher accompany the SJOE naturalist to the hospital to help facilitate transfer of custody and other logistics.
           In case of an on-site emergency, we rely on teachers for extra support in supervising students, office coverage, communicating with parents and schools, cabin checks and mobilizing students to different areas of camp.  (These roles are especially helpful during power outages!)
           In case there are large numbers of students needing to leave camp (usually for medical reasons), teachers can help out by gathering luggage and facilitating the transfer of custody to the student’s family.

5. How can I best communicate with office staff, naturalists, cabin leaders, etc?
           Communication is key to our program – naturalists are always happy to chat with you about students (meals are a great time).  All naturalists also have mailboxes, located in the Natty Room in Creature Feature, where notes can be left.  Notes for the Principal or Evening Director can be left on those respective desks. Office staff and naturalists will find you and talk to you if we need to communicate with you.  Checking the Discipline Log (on the filing cabinet above the Evening Director’s desk) is a good way for teachers to stay informed of discipline issues, as is the Medical Log, located on the Medic’s desk in the back room of the office.  Notes for cabin leaders can be left with the Evening Director or office staff to pass on during their evening meetings with the cabin leaders.  If anything is ever unclear or you need to talk to someone, just ask us!  We’re happy to help!

6. Can I use the internet while I am here?
           Absolutely!  If you brought your own computer, you can hook up to our wireless network (Randolph Lodge, check with the office staff for the password) or hook up to our Ethernet boxes in the office.  If you didn’t bring your own computer, you can use one of the two available computers in the Main Office, or if those are in use, the one in the back of the Med Room.

7. Can I use the telephone while I am here?
           Of course!  We have two landlines hooked up in the office, a main line and a fax line that you are welcome to use.  There are cordless phones as well as a stationary phone depending on your needs. The incoming phone line number in the office is 650-747-0139.  The fax line is 650-747-1523.  Our office staff will make sure you get any messages!

Teacher Duties/Responsibilities

1. Can teachers perform on PAC Night, go out on trail, teach an elective, etc?
           Absolutely!  Teachers can do any of the above and more!  Just let the Teacher Liaison know of your interests and we’ll help you set it up.  Naturalists love having teachers join them on trail, and you’re free to join for only part of the day – we’ll assist you in locating a group on trail.

2. What can I do during Teacher Time (each night right after dinner except Monday, until 7:15)?
           We have two student evaluations, a short one for Tuesday night a more involved one for Wednesday night, that we will ask you to distribute and collect from the students.  Aside from those, it’s up to you!  We have a range of art materials, pencils, markers and crayons available for your use, as well as board games, playing cards and journals.  Encouraging students to write letters home or journaling about their week are good ideas.
           In addition, during teacher time, please feel free to take your students outside during nice weather. If you are very familiar with the site and trails, you might even take them on a short hike (please let the office staff know if doing so).

3. Are there books/activities/art supplies available to me to use during Teacher Time or for my free time?
           Yes, we have an art cabinet dedicated to crafts complete with paint, markers, string, etc.  Our library is split up between the Naturalist Room and Creature Feature, where we have a range of story books, chapter books, guide and professional development books, along with our activity and song compilations.  Please talk to the office staff if you’d like to look at anything!

4. How do I do cabin inspections?
           Tuesday through Thursday teachers who are staying on site (not going to the beach) that day do cabin checks after students leave for their hikes at 9:15am.  The forms for cabin checks are located on the “Cabin Checks” clipboard to the right of the main office door, and there are maps of camp at the back of this binder.  Feel free to leave post-it notes in the cabin to remind students of what they need to do.  Please tell office staff if there are any shoe-on-bunks – that indicates that a student wet the bed and we need to take care of it right away.

5. What are the boundaries for recess?
           Students should stay within eyeshot of teachers at all times.  Where recess is being held may change depending on the season, as certain areas become over-saturated during the rainy months.  The teacher liaison will show you the recess area on Monday and discuss the boundaries.  Make sure to keep an eye out during recess as it is often a time when disciplinary issues can arise.

6. What happens during a rainy recess?
           If it is too rainy or soggy outside, recess will be inside in Perkins. Board games and apples will be waiting for you there!

7. How do I know if a student needs to sit out during recess?
           In your recess bag, there will be radio and clipboard labeled “Recess Log”.  Cabin leaders and Naturalists will write down or talk to you about any students that need to sit out for part or all of recess.

8. What are my duties on beach day?
           Each day there needs to be at least one teacher at the beach – if there was any sort of emergency, we need that extra support. For that reason, teachers need to be present on beach day (not just ride the bus down).  You are welcome to switch groups throughout the day (since beach day tends to need a lot of discipline, if there is a student or group you are worried about, it would be great for the naturalist if you joined their group).  At lunch, you are welcome to eat with a group or if your fellow teachers have a car, have lunch in Pescadero.  We ask that you limit your time away from the groups to an hour.

9. What are Super Table Awards?
     At each breakfast and dinner, two Super Table awards are given out by teachers.  Those are the giant green S’s on the tables in the Dining Hall.  Super Tables are those that talk only to their table, have only the hopper stand, say please and thank you, follow instructions (especially during clean up), walk one way and are quiet during announcements.  Super Tables are awarded at the very end of the meal—the naturalists working the meal will turn it over to you to present the winners!

10. How do students receive their mail?
           The mailbox is located right next to the office door.  Teachers are responsible for distributing mail to students – please do this during breakfast to avoid prompting homesickness.  If a student receives a package, please have them open it in front of you to make sure there is no food or inappropriate items.  Outgoing mail from the students to home can be placed in the mailbox as well, for pick up by the office or YMCA staff to take to the postal box.

Other Miscellaneous Questions

1. Where can I find extra sleeping bags, clothes, etc. at camp?
           Bedding and extra children’s clothes can all be found in our sick bay (the room with the bunk beds), just inside the door or in the far corner.  The office staff will be happy to help you find specific items as well—just ask!

2. What is the Hard Core Apple Club?
           Students who eat the entire apple (except stem and seeds) are part of the Hard Core Apple Club.  If students do not join, please encourage them to put the apples in the compost bucket (stickers need to go in the trash).

3. Can I give my students snacks/candy while they’re here?
           We ask that teachers refrain from giving any snacks to the students during teacher time or at any point during the week.  Students get plenty to eat at the meals and an apple at recess.  Thank you for your understanding on this issue.

4. Who do I talk to about maintenance issues in my room?
           If you have problems with something in your room, please let the office staff or Teacher Liaison know.  We simply radio the request to the YMCA staff who will come take care of it.

5. Can I leave Outdoor School at any time this week?
           Yes.  There should be one teacher on site (no exceptions between 10:30 pm and 8am) and one at the beach at all times, however, sometimes teachers like to go to Pescadero for lunch.  We ask that if you do so, please let the office staff know where you’re going, when you’ll be back and your cell phone number in case there is an emergency.  Thank you for your understanding!

6. Other Questions?

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask any SJOE staff member – we’re all here to help you!  Thank you in advance for all of your help this week!











































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