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Career development and employment skills are learned behavior and we are in the teaching profession. A career focus can be fun, rewarding, and is imperative if our young people are going to become the professionals of tomorrow. Take a look at the shortage of educated folks needed in the workplace now. What about the future?
Awareness Ideally students should be in the preparatory stage of career development and already have had a good exposure to careers by this level but in many districts this is not the case.
Career speakers in the classroom Employers are usually more than willing to spend time talking to students about what they do or will send one of their employees. Most business/career related classes at the high school level incorporate speakers, but it seems this is not as true in the core subjects. With a little thought and "stepping out of the box", all teachers can find a career speaker to fit at least one of their units. Ex. A US History teacher could bring in an antique dealer to share artifacts from the period being studied and share info about her career field. An athletic trainer or physical therapist would be good for PE classes. English could bring in someone from the local newspaper and maybe an engineer for a science class. Open the yellow pages in the phone book, find a source, call, and just ask!
Fieldtrips to different places of employment This activity is logistically more difficult at the secondary level than at the elementary level. If there is a way, a need and the desire to give students this experience, the information on fieldtrips for intermediate educators will be helpful.
Current events, reading books and watching videos are prime times for career awareness activities. Asking students to identify careers during these times or finding careers in the news makes for an easy career focused activity. Researching a health career that deals with a certain body system in biology or anatomy is a good career enhancement activity. What about the camera man shooting the documentary what a neat career. With a little imagination, the list can go on and on!
activities "Getting to know myself"
There are some good resources for this research in cyberspace and in the library. Also there is a sample lesson plan here (Adobe Acrobat file) for you to download if you choose.
Shadowing - This is the best way for a student to see the real world but does require work to organize. If the entire school or team is involved and all teachers along with those dedicated volunteers put their heads together, it can be done! Solicit local industry to provide a 1/2-day experience for a youth or two. These days can be throughout the year or all on the same day. Maybe "Take your daughter to work day" could be expanded and all students could have a place to go. Ideally, students would be matched with a career area of interest but any workplace experience is good. If you want to try this and the entire school isn't interested, find a few workplaces willing, a good parent volunteer to help, and send your kids. Make sure you share the results with the rest of the school. Make it grow.
Career Fair Bringing the professionals to the kids is easier than sending the kids out and almost as good of an experience for students, teachers, and employers. A 2 or 3 hour fair is plenty of time.
Skills building Building their resumes!
There is nothing better than a high school diploma AND entry level skills and/or certification for employment for students to take into their adult life. This is the way we can focus on giving our student s something real for their future. Making a living for most of our students is so important. They want to be independent!
ALL students need
to have skills, smart and not so smart. College and non-college bound
- Who knows who they are anyway. By the way, what would you do if you
got laid off?
Workplace skills are taught in the classroom daily. Instead of disguising them as classroom procedures, rules, behaviors and the like, teachers need to dress them up as workplace skills. Following are some examples of easy ways to do this:
Why not design some type of "promotion or commission" for 3, 6 or 9 straight weeks of completing work and perfect attendance.
Employee evaluations from local business can be used or adapted to use in the classroom. This is a great addition to the "report card" and for parent conferences. Workplace skills such as time management, quality, cooperation, completeness, dependability, etc can be rated in this manner. Make sure the information is presented in the context of workplace skills not just classroom manner.Many of you creative teachers already have activities and resources nailed down. Many of you will develop some wonderful activities this summer. This is a jumping on place. Career development can be fun, is beneficial to students, and is truly an enhancement to your curriculum. How about sharing with other teachers by using the Teachnet Teacher-2-Teacher mailing list? Together, let's prepare our students for a productive future.
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