“To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness.” – John Dewey
I want to be the teacher that would have inspired my father to stay in school. My father is the smartest person I know, but he did not “officially” graduate high school. He received his GED and then went to serve our country in the Air Force. I am so proud of my dad. He has built multiple companies from the ground up, and is doing well. But, he has had to work extremely hard through life, and I wonder what his life would have been like if he had graduated from high school and attended college. Well, I guess I wouldn’t have been born because he met my mom while stationed at an Air Force base in Omaha, Nebraska, so maybe it all did work out for the best.
However, I think we must allow our students the opportunity to dabble in job searching. Now is the time before they make decisions that can impact their lives in major ways negatively or positively. Sure, our fabulous guidance counselor comes in and talks about job opportunities, but what if we affirmed the importance of finding jobs that may interest them. The time is now to get your students thinking about their future.
My class started thinking about their future the day I showed them the Kid President video, and maybe even sooner. We have, “blogged for a purpose” and now it is time to actually see what kind of jobs our interests match up to in the real world. Since it is after PASS this is a great time to do some career research. While scouring the internet one weekend I came across Jobs in Pawland, an extremely user friendly program that allows students to use the “Job Finder” to highlight career clusters that may interest them.
Once the students find out what clusters interest them, I have them narrow all of their options to 4 then quickly 3 jobs they may have an interest in pursuing. They then answer multiple questions about the 3 jobs they have an interest in. Eventually, they narrow their interest to ONE job, and create a Keynote that explains important factors about this career. They present the Keynote, and like magic my students are introduced to 27 different career fields. They know the salary that is paid for the job, necessary education to do the job, and how much time is put into this job on a weekly basis. My students must also search for colleges that offer the education necessary for the job, which allows me to get on my soapbox about how, “If you have a strong work ethic, you and your parents won’t have to pay for college because you can earn scholarships!”
So many quality conversations come out of a two week study on optional career paths and colleges. I have even had parents come back to me the following year and say, “My child loved when you went job and college searching. He said it was the best thing he was able to do last year.” What if my dad had been in my class? What if he had found out he had strength in the business field earlier? Or even in 4th grade?
We should not encourage our students to only survive in the world, but to thrive in the world and make it a better place! You can download the outlines I have during our study of careers below.
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