Several students now have a better idea just how many options they will have when choosing a career.
Through an interactive game under the direction of Robin Middleton, a former JCC teacher and counselor, students learned more about themselves and what they want, or don't want, out of a career.
Middleton was recently invited by Barbi Price, teacher and chairperson of Jamestown High School's English department, to speak for two one-hour sessions in Price's 12th-grade class. Middleton is an On Course facilitator, seeking innovative ways to help students achieve greater academic success and retention. Along with Kaye Young, who also worked at JCC as director of the Student Learning Center, she has created a company called MYndworks, which offers educational games and consulting services focused on strategies to help students become more responsible, successful learners.
Students pose with their career cards, which helped to illustrate the different possibilities that a broadly titled career field can entail.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
"Since I started at JCC many years ago, the careers that were out there have changed so much," said Middleton, addressing the students. "What's going to be out there four years from now, when you're ready to get on with your career, is going to be changing. So the question is: how do we get ready for this world?"
Middleton employed one of her educational games in the classes. She began the sessions by having students write down career choices they had made as children as well as those they've entertained as they've grown older. Students then broke into groups to discuss their career ideas with their classmates. She then had students line up in a visual representation of a one to 10 scale regarding the students' confidence and security with their current career choice. Many students were fairly confident in their choice while some were quite unsure.
Students were then seated and handed a tri-folded card with broad career terms such as "sports" and "visual and performing arts." Students then had 30 seconds to do a swap with each other in an attempt to retrieve a card relating to their individual career choices.
The cards were then opened one flap at a time. The first flap described characteristics that a person in that career field would possess. The second flap listed two examples of specific professions within that career. Students then discussed the influence that the exercise had on their expectations of their career choice.
"The bottom line is that the whole job market is always changing," said Middleton. "We need to know ourselves and how to solve problems for other people. So the more problems we learn how to solve, and the better at it we get, the more likely it is that somebody is going to hire us. There is so much within each (career) field. Each field is its own little world, and so when a student says, "I want to work with computers," they need to know what that entails."
The exercise received feedback from some of the students.
"It was fabulous," said Lily Ellis.
"It was interesting to find that different things can be inside the field that you want to be in," said Grayson Pellerito. "(The career card) said "communications" and I thought that I wanted to do that, but then it went into something that I've never wanted to do."
After the thought-provoking activity, Middleton left the class with some final words of advice.
"Keep developing a lot of different skills in this world because it keeps changing all the time."
To learn more about Robin Middleton, MYndworks and the On Course initiative, visit: www.myndworksedu.com.