Remember the excitement of "field trip day"? In grade school, these outside excursions ranged from a trip to the zoo for science class to a Shakespeare play for English or even an outing at the local theme park to illustrate the laws of physics.

Your school's nail program could similarly benefit from a well-planned out-of-class experience. Here are a five great ideas:

1.The Beauty Supply Store: A perennial favorite, a trip to a nearby distributor serves as more than just a shopping spree. For many students, this may be the first time they're exposed to a professional-only shop. Show them the backbar sizes, where the nail products are located, and introduce them to the owner (who you should alert in advance — maybe she'll even offer your students a purchase discount!). If classes are offered at the location, have them pick up a schedule and make plans to come back on their own.

2. A Nearby Tradeshow: Any beauty  show that's within driving distance is fair game. Many even offer discounted student tickets. Attending a show together gives students a chance to learn from each other, as well as from the exhibitors and class instructors. Teach them how to plan for a show in advance, such as by designing and printing their own business cards. You can get a student handout about getting the most out of a tradeshow here.

3. Nail Salons and Spas: Visiting a variety of nail salons and spas in one day can make for an educational experience. It helps students assess what it takes to succeed in the real-world, plus it introduces them to potential employers. Ask them to compose an observational essay afterward, in which they assess each salon's clientele, what makes it unique, and explain what lessons they might be able to incorporate into their own careers.

4. Donate Mani-Pedis to the Neighborhood: Whether it's to a nursing home or for runners in a 5K, find a place where your class can donate a few hours of time to do complementary mani-pedis. Real-world experience can be hard to come by, and this will add a line to the students' resumes while exposing the community to your school. Plus, you can use the opportunity to talk about working for or running a mobile salon as a career option (if it's legal in your state).  

5. State Board Meeting: If you're in the state capitol, you'd be remiss to not take your students to a state board of cosmetology meeting. (And if you're not in the capitol, you should find out if the board ever holds satellite meetings in your area.) It's a great way to see the government in action, and the rules the board decrees directly affect your students. Boards are required to post an agenda ahead of time, and, if a hot-button issue is scheduled to be discussed, you or one of your students may even inquire about getting to share your perspective at the meeting.

Weigh in! What nail school field trips did you go on? (Or would have liked to go on?) Let us know in the comments!

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