How to Get Teachers to Prepare Students for College and Career Readiness

Misty Hance
Misty Hance
Assistant elementary school principal; Ed.D. in School Leadership, Carson-Newman University, TN
Word career written on a chalkboard with an upward pointing arrow.

I think it is fair to say that most teachers realize they inspire the future workforce. Still, they can be so focused on their class curriculum that they overlook the bigger picture of preparing students for college and career readiness. There are several steps an administrator can take to inspire teachers to support students as they begin to think about their future.

Start Young

Often high school teachers understand their contribution to the college and career outlook; however, students as young as fourth grade are ready to start exploring options. Administrators can encourage upper elementary and middle school teachers, as well as those in high school, to equip students with information through reading and assignments that help students explore a variety of career paths.

Explore Options

Many students understand the familiar career paths such as education, medicine, and emergency services, but they need to be introduced to other fields as well. High school administrators can equip students with the skills and knowledge for career readiness by offering programs such as automotive technology, architectural design, building trades, cosmetology, and engineering.

Allow Students to Change Their Mind

Administrators can also encourage teachers and counselors to listen to students and allow them to change their minds. Many districts are offering a career path option for high school so that those interested in medicine can take preparatory classes, while those interested in trade school courses can follow a different path. It is important to have teachers assess their students regularly to determine if these selected courses are still of interest. The intent should be to introduce students to the field, and then if they determine this is not what they want to do in their career, allow them to explore a new path.

Teach Soft Skills

In order to prepare students for the workforce, there are so many skills above and beyond curriculum standards that need to be taught. Administrators can ask teachers to incorporate these in their daily routines. These are skills like public speaking, eye contact during conversation, shaking hands and holding their body with confidence, completing work in a timely manner, and accepting constructive criticism. In addition, administrators can evaluate teachers on their rigorous instruction and high expectations so that students are used to working at their highest potential, which will carry over to their career.

Allow Career Exploration

Finally, the administrator can encourage teachers to foster the development of career readiness by allowing field trips and community visits. A career fair is a great way to promote the exploration of the variety of jobs available, but don’t stop there. Encourage teachers to take students on trips to universities and workplaces. In addition, there are computer-based programs that help students determine their best placement, so administrators can provide access to such sites and programs.

It is most important that teachers understand their ability to influence students’ choice. Administrators need to stress that all careers should be promoted positively. Students should not be discouraged in their quest, but rather encouraged to pursue their chosen path. This will ultimately yield college and career readiness in your students.

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