An Aladdin’s cave of teacher materials

3 February 2020

Attending an event is always exciting – that moment when you all gather together to embark on a unique and special journey. However, all that fun and excitement also requires careful planning to create a successful experience for you and your students. We have curated a number of resources to help you with your planning and to make sure that you are covered from the moment you decide to attend an event and make your booking, all the way through to the big day.

Understanding the process
Making a booking and registering your actual participants are two very different steps. Bookings happen when you make an official decision to attend an event and give your ‘guesstimate’ at the number of students you intend to bring. It is important that you book a feasible number – one that you feel confident with. Registration is about giving us all the individual details for each person attending the event. The number of registrants should match up with your booked numbers (or updated numbers that you have provided Jo in the months and weeks leading up to an event).

Starting planning
We can’t stress enough how important it is for schools to begin their planning early. The overview at the top of the blog gives you a step-by-step look at the ISTA event process for schools from start to finish.

Planning early allows schools to quickly assess whether the numbers that they have booked for the event are realistic and it also helps schools to provide accurate number updates for Jo in the run up to an event. In addition, early planning allows a teacher to price out any flights, added hotel costs, requirements for an extra night’s stay (should available flights to/from your home country not match up to the actual event start and end dates), the number of eventual homestay nights available to your group and more! Please remember that all participants are expected to attend the whole event so it is wise to check that flight arrivals and departures work right from the start.

Editable parent letter #1 – Letter of commitment for interested parents
This is an editable letter to use when organising interested participants giving full details of the event and asking for a deposit from parents to show their commitment to signing their child up to the event. This helps teachers get more solid confirmations and guarantees that students who say that they wish to attend the event actually do.

Go to the Resources in your ISTA website dashboard to download this editable letter.

Editable parent letter #2 – Confirmation of selected student participants
This is an editable letter to use when you have confirmed your participants and now need to
share further details with their parents about the trip.

Go to the Resources in your ISTA website dashboard to download this editable letter.

Informing your school community about what ISTA is
Sometimes it’s difficult to really get across to newbies just how awesome an ISTA experience is and put all the information together in one place. There are a number of stakeholders that teachers need to spread the word to – be it your school’s administration or perhaps potential student participants and their parents.

But don’t fret because ISTA’s got you covered with two editable resources that will help you tell people about us and the experience of attending an event. Keep what you need, remove slides that aren’t applicable and add in any other details that are specific to your own trip planning. Don’t forget to read the helpful presenter’s notes provided on each slide for explanations and extra information we’ve put together for you!

Click here to make your own Google slide copy of the presentation.
Go to the Resources in your ISTA website dashboard to download the PowerPoint presentation.

Sometimes films do the best job to really demonstrate the ISTA experience. Below are a list of helpful links to videos that we think covers it all. Some of these videos can already be found in the slide presentations listed above.

ISTA festivals

A great film for everyone to use – to explain what happens at a festival and how the experience is of value. Particularly useful for new schools; for schools wanting to convert parents and students. Covers teachers talking as well as testimony from students. Watch it here.

About TaPS
A look at the TaPS experience for DP Theatre students from the perspective of teachers, students and artists. This video explores the value of attending a TaPS event. Watch it here.

NearWest / ISTA collaboration film
A longer film but it explains an ISTA partnership – what it means to be an ISTA artist; about the ISTA festival experience and ensemble. So useful also for schools who are new to ISTA and includes helpful Chinese subtitles. Watch it here.

The Sha Tin in-house festival experience
Explains what an in house festival is and the way that learning through theatre can be integrated into a school’s existing programme. Watch it here.

Common questions and roadblocks
Careful planning always leads to fantastic questions. Below we have collated some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about planning for a trip. If yours aren’t answered below, always reach out to the ISTA event coordinator, who will be happy to assist. Never leave a burning question unanswered!

Other helpful links
ISTA for schools
ISTA for teachers
ISTA for students
ISTA for parents
ISTA on Vimeo
ISTA on Youtube

And don’t forget – all resources listed in this blog are available to download for FREE through the Resource section on your ISTA dashboard. Happy ISTA planning!