Thursday, February 28, 2013

When changing your mind can cost you over 100K

Regardless of what I do or the resources I use, I get the same question from some students. "How am I supposed to know what I want to do for a career?" It's a fair question, I didn't know what I wanted to do when I was in high school. A matter of fact, it wasn't later in my life until I found my passion and chose to return to school and become a teacher.

I will begin the unit with the video above. I will follow the video and a subsequent short discussion up with an activity correlated with the article "There's More to Life Than Being Happy". The article was inspired by the thoughts of Viktor Frankl, a prominent psychiatrist and neurologist who survived a Nazi concentration camp. I will also have the students participate in an activity correlated to the article "Why You'll Never Be Able to Keep Up With the Joneses", written by psychologist and behavioral finance expert Dr. Crosby.

I will transition into a project based learning activity. To briefly summarize, I will begin by having the students take a number of student-led interest inventory and career connection assessments on the Ohio Career Information System (OCIS) website. After that, the students will research careers that the assessments identify as a good fit, and careers they are interested in not identified by the assessment tools. I will have them use this entry point or this entry point to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics website for them to do their research. They will also have to conduct an interview with someone from a career field they are interested in, and for extra credit can shadow someone in the workforce.

We also have one of the best guidance departments you could ever hope for. Between the two of them they have 70 years of experience with the energy of teenagers. 

It would be helpful if students had some sort of work experience. Many of my students who want to work cannot for various reasons. I believe this makes it harder for the kids to know what they want to do, or not do, because many do not have any practical working experience. Even if their teenage job has nothing to do with the career they are interested in, they have at least experienced what it is like to have a job.

I understand people change their careers quite frequently throughout their lives, and we are preparing some students for careers that do not exist. I use the video in this post to illustrate this point to my students. But this doesn't mean we should just wish our graduating seniors who are matriculating to college good luck and ignore our growing student debt crisis.

This is a very expensive problem for any students who are going to take on any student debt. I do the best I can in our unit on credit and debt using these resources to help prepare students to make a wise and informed student debt choice. But this doesn't help all that much if it takes them six years to graduate because they keep changing their major. It can cost students thousands of dollars in additional coursework when they change their majors two or three years into college.

I am wide open for any pedagogy or resource suggestions to help my students find the right career connection for them.

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