When I think of my final years at school, all I remember is extra classes, extra study hours and extra tests. We never thought of anything beyond our academic syllabus and nor were we asked to think about it. The one and only goal that we were supposed to focus on was getting through the board exams with a good score. Things may have been different at other schools but this is how it was in my school.
At that time, my friends and I did not stop to think about the future but now, we wish we had known more about the various fields of study and different career options and we would have definitely benefited from some advice about choosing a field of study, other than simply being told to get good marks.
As a teacher, you know what your students are capable of, what they can do and what they can’t do. As they stand on the cusp of leaving the safety of school, you have the power to guide them towards fields of their own choosing and interests.
Here are 5 ways in which you can guide your school-leaving students.
1. Know Your Students’ Passions
Each student has different interests and passions, but seldom gets the opportunity to display it at school. As a teacher do your best to figure what your students are interested in and encourage them to pursue it further. Sometimes, all students need is a little push from an adult who they respect.
2. Career advice
When it comes to the final year of school, ask them to do more than just getting good grades. Talk to them about the careers they would like to pursue, whether their passions and interests can be converted into viable careers and and then guide them towards the fields of studies that you think they might be interested in. When you talk to students about potential careers with respect to their passions or interests, students know which educational step to take next. Many students default to engineering, arts or commerce without thinking of how it would help the field they eventually want to pursue.
If you feel like you are ill-equipped to handle giving career advice but want your students to have that privilege anyways, then you can also request career counsellors to come and give your students a talk. Even if it is just one session, your students will definitely benefit from it.
3. Importance of vocational courses
Blue collar jobs often get an unfair rap because most people assume that blue collar jobs are all about unskilled labour. However, blue collar jobs cover the spectrum from unskilled to very highly-skilled labour. They pay just as well as professional jobs or even better. Not everyone is cut out for professional jobs. Therefore, even let your students know about vocational courses, such as fashion designing, pharmacy, carpentry, accounting, nursing etc. Vocational courses require that students get into technical schools rather than universities or colleges.
4. The strength to face failures
We need to feed our children the untruth that a good school record automatically ensures a good job and by extension, a succesful life. We leave out the part wherein after a student leaves school, not all of them might get into the colleges they want or get the jobs they want, no matter how well-qualified they are or how good their grades are. It is upto you to teach that one should not give up, no matter how hard the going is. This way, students will at least be prepared to try harder, should they face failure.
5. Marks do not matter
Marks do matter to a extent but not as much as students are led to believe in school. This is because a student’s grade scores are not a reflection of his/her actual intelligence and skill. Good grades will ensure that one can get into one’s college of choice (but not always) but not ensure an immedeate job. With the emphasis we place on marks and grades, some students who have good marketable skills become depressed because they feel like their low marks mean they are not as good as everyone else. Yes, marks and grades are important but they are most definitely not the be all and end all of everything!
What other advice can be given to school leaving students? What are the thing you wish you could have told your students about before they left school? Please share your experiences and suggestions with us in the comments section below!