How do you talk with your student about his or her plans for life after graduation?
Perhaps you share advice like this: Study hard. Get good grades. Go to college. You can do anything you set your mind to.
We all want students to do their best, so they have better opportunities for bright futures and good jobs. This school year, I want to encourage you to get more specific. Beyond offering advice, ask more questions and urge your student to think about his or her strengths and interests.
Here are some questions to consider: What do you like to do, in school and out of school? What are some of your natural strengths? What are some careers in which your interests and strengths might intersect? How do you think you might best prepare and train for those careers?
It’s never too early to start these conversations, either. Even elementary school students can learn from classroom visitors talking about their jobs or a summertime day camp focused on anything from computer coding to archaeology.
Today’s students are likely to have several careers over the course of their lives, and an ever-increasing number of jobs require education beyond high school. Simply telling them to go to college isn’t enough. Every student’s path will be unique. Students should see a university or technical institute education not as an end in itself, but as a tool for achieving their career goals.
Here are some things we are doing in our school district to help students more effectively explore and understand the career opportunities available to them: The use of SDMyLife.com (career exploration, course planning, and post-secondary information), internships, dual credit options, Employability course, Career Planning Day in Aberdeen for Juniors and Seniors every fall, NCRC (National Career Readiness Certificate) exam for Juniors, and even an entrepreneurial festival "Create 'N'".
At a conference this summer, Gov. Dennis Daugaard challenged us...instead of asking students where they are going to school, ask them what they are going to study and why? We want graduates to leave our district with clear goals in mind and a strong plan for achieving them. Here's to a great year at the Faulkton Area Schools District!