Teachers, Are Your Students Ready for College or a Career?
Eight signs that your students will make it next year!
Senior year- Many students have already checked out. They have their college admissions letter or maybe even a job lined up after school lets out… or maybe they don’t! Whatever their plans, what makes students successful after high school is how well you’ve prepared them for the next phase. Getting accepted into college or landing the job is only the first step for these young minds. How can you prepare them to have success in this next major endeavor? More importantly, does your curriculum even support it?
Standardized tests, state rankings, college acceptance rates and district polling requirements are clouding the real reason we got into this profession. With all of this noise, are you still able to prepare your students for the real world? Can they adapt to a life of responsibility, communication, collaboration, and creative thinking after high school? Let’s hope that the answer is yes, but just to be sure, take a look at the signs that your students are well on their way to a successful life after school lets out in June.
1. GPA is A-OK
It’s no surprise that grades do tell a lot about the student. Study habits, work ethic, rate of responsibility and stewardship can all be inferred by a single letter: A or B. In general, A or B students have greater success post-secondary school because it takes a lot of effort to maintain those grades throughout high school. These students generally have good interpersonal skills, are successful at thinking on their feet, can adapt to many situations and will have a stronger drive than other students. Anything less than an A or a B tells a different story. Administrators and bosses alike will choose the A/B student expecting a certain caliber of worker. However, grades don’t always show the full picture. This is where the other variables come into play:
2. Can your students make inferences?
In other words, can a student hear one idea and use it to draw conclusions about another idea? This is a great indicator of intelligence. It shows curiosity and the ability to think creatively. Both skills are crucial for navigating a life with more freedoms. Whether you are discussing a modern day Hamlet or the college basketball players’ union, do your students form opinions based in facts and observation? If so, well done! They have a good shot at success in their college or career path.
3. How are their comparing and contrasting skills?
How often do your students get to really compare and contrast content they are learning? The world is filled with conflicting stories and information. How well can your students evaluate the facts and compare and contrast opinions to determine their own? What lessons do you teach that affords them this opportunity? If your students can find common themes across texts and make connections easily to their own lives, these skills are sharp enough to propel them into the next phase of their life!
4. Can they utilize a variety of technology to present findings, communicate with peers or market themselves?
Nowadays, early on in a child’s education, students
learn how to use the computer. At some point, a switch happens and they begin to use the computer to learn. In other words, they have the ability to accurately choose and execute a computer program based on its ability to either calculate, organize or present desired data. Students with this type of technical expertise not only have an advantage in the career and higher-learning sector, but are stiff competition for older candidates without this experience.
5. Are they comfortable speaking in a crowd… under pressure?
The ability to think on their feet is one of the most useful skills your students can acquire. Formal presentations are an effective way to achieve this goal. However, for an even more authentic experience, consider allowing students to present in front of a board of teachers, parents, or professionals in an environment that is unfamiliar to them. The experience will not only allow them to experience “being on” but will also help them to realize the real-life implications of their words.
6. Do they know how the stock market works and how world trends affect it? Do they even care?
While the developmental life skills mentioned above are the key indicators of potential success, giving your students a few extra tricks will give them an advantage in the world. Most schools offer a finance course as an elective which many students overlook. Unfortunately, many students graduate without any real understanding of “The Market” and the integral role it plays in world events. Giving them the fundamentals of this system will not only allow them a greater understanding of the world, but will also help them to plan their financial futures. Your students, our future leaders, will thank you for it.
7. Do they have a resume?
Even if the top three elements are Dog Walker, Soccer team and After-Care helper, students should go through the experience of creating their own resume. Taking the time to look back at their contributions and reflecting on the positives promotes drive and confidence. It’s also an incredible way to boost morale, teach life skills and work on good ol’ fashioned grammar. Not to mention, resume-writing skills are paramount to basic inter-personal communication that can be easily integrated into any curriculum model. Once students understand the basics of resume writing, teaching them the crucial role that resumes play in finding employment and what it takes to stand out from the rest of the crowd are invaluable tools.
8. Are YOU familiar with College and Career Readiness Standards?
The Common Core State Standards initiative, although a bit controversial, provides anchor standards for college and career readiness. We can debate the effectiveness of the Standards initiative all day. But let’s not! Buried in this website are key skills that prepare students for college and/ or a career. These readiness standards are divided into the following groups: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. Integrating these standards into your planning will amount to a greater learning experience for your students and hopefully, prepare them for what the world is expecting of them upon graduation.
Colleges are designed to deepen a knowledge base and provide an opportunity for students to specialize their interests. The work force is willing to provide job-training skills, but only the truly prepared will be able to make the most of those experiences. Empower your students with the skills they will need for true future success… while teaching them what’s going to be on the next standardized test! 😉 Seem impossible? We’re teachers…There’s always a way.
Perhaps you are worried that teaching the stock market doesn’t fit in your curriculum or that standardized tests don’t test public speaking. Instead of seeing these things as obstacles, think of them as an opportunity to get creative and integrate these skills into your classes. The Teacher’s Academy’s course, College and Career Readiness helps you find areas in your curriculum that may lend themselves to teaching these life skills. Learn the basics of finance and the stock market and how you can deliver that information to your students. Encourage your students to start their own businesses and explore the preparation and planning that goes into it. Dive into Prezi as an alternative presentation software, update your resume, and hone in on your interviewing skills in The Teacher’s Academy professional development course, College and Career Readiness.
The Teacher’s Academy offers affordable professional development for busy teachers. Courses range from 3-18 hours and are approved in most states. Get your PD from home, or on the road. Let The Teacher’s Academy help. We celebrate teachers. We love teachers. We are teachers.