These kids need jobs.

The New York City Department of Education instructs students to be “college and career ready.” Since I believe it’s never too early for my students to think about this, I created a unit for my sixth graders. It can be tweaked to work up or down a few grades.
Part One-My Career Plans
I start with a simple question, what do you want to be someday? During the class discussion about careers, I ask them the following questions.
  • Do you know anyone who has that job?
  • What do you have to do to get that job?
  • Where did you learn about this job?
I direct them to the Department of Labor website. This site will is geared towards students. They can explore all sorts of career paths to find a specific job that interests them.
From what they learn, they create a presentation illustrating the steps they will take to get that job.
I provide the students with a slideshow template. This way they know what’s expected. Some classes I don’t give them the template and let them create it from scratch. Here’s the general outline for the presentation.
I will someday be a __________ by (your name).
I will be a _________ because ______________.
(You will list at least two reasons why you want to someday have this job)
Discuss what you would do every day if you had this job, how does it help people?
Information on how much this career pays a year, from starting salaries to how high it usually pays. (The Dept. of Labor website helps with this slide)
Information on what the outlook is for this career; will there be lots of jobs available? Or is it hard to get a job in this field? (The Dept. of Labor website helps with this slide)
How will you get this job? What can you do today to help get the job you want to have someday?
Where did you get your information? What websites did you use for pictures? (This is the citations slide.)
While they are working, I circulate around the room asking the students why they chose the career they did. I’m looking to hear some articulate answers, but I’ll take what I can get.
Part Two-My Eventual Career
Once their slideshow is complete, we start working on the second part which is creating a resume geared to getting the job they chose.
Since they now know the requirements for their career, they can create a resume with real ideas on how to get it. I give them a simple resume template and tell them fill it out as if it is ten years from now. I tell them that they’ve just graduated from a four-year program in college, or professional training, and they’re looking for their first job. Some questions they need to ask themselves while they create their resume
  • What did you do to help your resume stand out?
  • Did you volunteer somewhere?
  • Did you organize a club in college about your future career?
  • Did you intern somewhere useful?
While they are working on this, I circulate around the room and observe partners asking each other common interview questions. I want my students to have a coherent answer ready for that type of question, they will be asked that a lot in the years to come.
These tasks may seem far-fetched for 11 year olds, but a dream stays just a dream until you add an action plan to it. They may not even be sure about their choices right now, but any direction is better than none. I know it seems like an advanced lesson plan for sixth graders, but you would be surprised how this opens their eyes. They now know what a resume is, and they can keep their eyes out for any opportunity to add something significant to it.
My motives seem honorable, but I’m just hoping they get really good jobs so I will someday be able to borrow money from them. I think that’s a solid retirement plan.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s