It isn’t easy to choose a career and figure out what you want to do in life. It often takes years of struggle and hard work to discover what makes you happy. Helping young people find their passions can make a big difference and can help in choosing a career path. If people pursue work they don’t enjoy, no matter how high the pay, they’re unlikely to reach their full potential.
As an educator, here’s how you can get your students to explore their interests and talents, which can lead them to a more fulfilling life and career.
Focus on motivation, not achievement
How to choose a career that’s right for you shouldn’t be solely driven by the grades you achieve. One of the main aspects of modern education is that the system is designed to incentivise academic achievement over satisfaction or interest. The thinking is it’s more important for a student to get a good grade on an exam than to enjoy the subject. To foster student passion, we must rethink the traditional method of learning.
Students with a sense of purpose will have a deeply developed intrinsic motivation to achieve a goal or participate in an activity. They’ll be motivated to pursue it despite the difficulty if it’s something they enjoy and it doesn’t feel like work.
Foster a culture of trust in your classroom
A Search Institute study found that students who have a close relationship with their teachers are more motivated and engaged in school. Mistakes are a necessary part of finding purpose. A classroom that encourages discovery fosters passionate, purposeful students. Learning and growth require risk-taking, and students need a safe environment in which to take those risks and explore different ways of thinking.
Be a role model
When students see that their teachers are interested in learning, they’ll be more interested in what they’re doing. Offer mentorship to your students by sharing your interests and how you’re also always learning. Sharing your experiences can inspire and encourage students to overcome obstacles and work hard to reach their goals.
Invite failure in
One of the best ways to discover your passion is through exploration, but experimentation also opens up the possibility of failure. Failure and trying new pursuits can help students figure out what they want to do and what they don’t. Teachers can also pursue this idea in the classroom by assisting students to explore challenging new activities, even when failure is inevitable.
Make a connection between knowledge and skills
You can use your classes to make them more relevant to the world of work. For example, showing how a particular scientific process is used in research or industry will make the lesson seem more relevant and exciting to students. Discussing the work of publishers in English literature might subtly increase students’ understanding of that text. Inviting employers to talk about how they apply the knowledge and skills taught in class can be an engaging way to make learning more relevant and introduce a potential career path for a student.
Break down stereotypes
Despite women’s progress in careers involving science, technology, engineering, and math ****(STEM), they’re still underrepresented in the workplace. There’s a stereotype that women don’t succeed in STEM careers, which limits the options for your students considerably.
This stereotype can be countered by showing students examples of successful women. The key is to portray them as relatable. They should be able to see themselves when they look at these women and how they’ve become scientists. This makes it easier for girls to imagine themselves following a similar path to success and will help those who show interest in the field to choose a career path in STEM.
Find out what career they’re suited for
Encourage students to take a personality test to find out more about themselves. How well can they work with others? What are their preferences when it comes to type and amount of responsibility? A component of most career tests are questions that assess a student’s personality type. They’re useful to determine where their strengths and weaknesses lie and what they want out of a career.
A broader career aptitude test covers a wide range of factors a student must consider when choosing a career. Personality is one of them, but completing scientifically validated aptitude tests and an interest inventory is a more holistic approach that provides a comprehensive overview of career options for students. If students need help choosing a career path, try Career Fit’s scientifically validated online career test.
Introduce them to the idea of job counselling
Career counselling is crucial for students who want to know more about different career options. Counsellors can open up a larger market of opportunities by getting your students out of their comfort zone.
Job counselling is more than just answering a few questions to figure out a career path. It’s a process of finding out what you want and what you’re capable of. To do this, you need to have many conversations, understand your career options, and then choose the best one for you. A career counsellor will help students with this process by helping them develop a solid career strategy.
Another benefit is that career counsellors aim to understand both parents’ and their children’s perspectives. They’re objective and provide a balanced view, ensuring all parties are aware of the nuances of career options.
As a teacher, you already offer career guidance to your students, and they look to you for more than just your subject expertise. They need guidance on their career paths and interests and finding the best university, college, or post-school career fit. As a teacher, you often have the best insight into your students’ career aspirations, so you should be the one to start the conversation.
Looking for online career guidance for students?
Career Fit offers a comprehensive career counselling programme geared toward high school students that is based on quality career research for students. Students come to us because they’re unsure which subjects, courses, or future employment opportunities are best for them. This programme helps them make those decisions, narrowing them down to 16 personalised career opportunities with a comprehensive career report.
If you’d like to get a demo of our Career Fit programme and see how it can help you and your students, get in touch.