Over the past few months I am sure many people are wondering - are we ever going to get back to some sort of normalcy whether it is going back to work at the "Office", starting to apply to online "post-secondary school," or thinking about what "K-12 school" is going to look like when September rolls around.
For me it is time to just stop and do something a little bit "out of the normal." It has been a few years since I have actually picked up a book and read it cover to cover. I truly believe that reading books increased knowledge, spurs on intellectual conversation and yes even at times just an opportunity to get lost in a "good book."
I have found a few good reading lists, that have intrigued me over the years,
Here are a few ideas:
Recently I was looking for a book that might challenge me to think about how much more effective I could be as a career counsellor to high school students. This book was actually written for people in management positions but the principles laid out can be applied to the role in which I am in on a daily basis. There are four main characters in the book, Sniffy, Scurrie, Hem and Haw. How do we handle change or make decisions? As I reflected on these four characters I could see that students can fit characters like this as they make decisions about careers and life choices.
Sniffy and Scurrie knew what to do when there was change - they accepted it and knew that if they didn’t than they would lose out on the vast opportunities that were waiting for them.
Hem did not like change, was not prepared to explore the possibilities that were out there, spending to much time thinking and analyzing. Instead of looking forward, Hem was still basing decisions on past experiences and out-dated ideas, therefore making in harder for change to occur or even be current in ideas and thoughts.
And finally there is Haw the one who didn’t jump into change quickly but knew that in order to move forward change must take place. Don’t be afraid to fail, don’t be afraid to step out and try new things, if that doesn’t work try something new and different, get out of your comfort zone. Laugh at your failures.
Not all students can be identified as any one of these four characters but I definitely have counselled Sniffies, Scurries, Hems and Haws. That is my job, to help students recognize that they need to change their thinking in how they approach their career decisions, to not rely on out-dated information from years gone by, but to do thorough research and to keep an open mind of the many many different careers there are today and to look to the future as to what the careers may look like down the road. Times are changing, the world of work is changing and I need to help students see that it is not as dismal as people make it out to be.
Change is inevitable, change is necessay, embrace changes no matter the unsurmountable unknowns, whether you have searched out every career and know exactly what you want to do, how long it will take to do and the end goal being happy in what you do. Remember life will throw curve balls and then some reevaluating may need to take place. Universities change their program requirements, career trends seem to be changing on a regular basis and the security of riding on the coat tails of family businesses or even following in your parents footsteps and doing exactly what they did and your grandparents did etc those careers may not even exist anymore. Then what do you do - embrace change.
Another event that is taking place is a Virtual Student Expo Event (June 5, 6 and 7) for students across Canada. Over 1,000 colleges and universities from across the country will be represented at the online event to answer questions regarding registration, scholarships, or any other concerns students or parents might have. Here is a link that you can go to:
Both of these events are free and I believe the information that students will be able to glean from each of these events will be very helpful as they make future decisions.
Take a look at this promo video.
Unprecedented has been defined as “never before known or experienced event” and uncharted waters as “a new and unknown area”. This pretty much sums up the past two weeks in the lives of the entire world from economics, to the health care system and of course the education of all students K-12 in many provinces across Canada. Initially, cancellations of many school events to the end of April seemed reasonable, but once the decision to suspend in-class learning became a reality, approximately 18,000 Grade 12 students in Manitoba will not be able to walk across the stage to receive their diploma, a significant milestone that represents a lot of hard work and the beginning of a new journey.
With in-class learning suspended indefinitely, teaching looks very different. I witnessed first-hand teachers embracing the challenge of rethinking how they were going to connect with their students. The insurmountable learning curve has just become a reality for the entire world. No longer is there physical face-to-face interaction but with the advancement of technology, teachers are doing face-to-face with their students through Hangouts, GoMeet, Zoom etc. Doing assignments through Google classroom allows the teachers to measure success.
It has been a huge learning curve for all of us, many are working from home, In the last two weeks, I have learned how to use Google classroom, Go Meet, Hangouts, Zoom, What’s App, voice over for Google slides to create presentations and the list goes on and on. I know first hand the amount of work our teachers do in the classroom and in a short period of time they have moved from their classroom to each individual student’s home via this amazing thing called Technology, emergency remote learning, not online teaching. There is a huge difference. Here is a link to an article I read recently regarding this – a great read for anybody who is connected to the educational system - .Emergency Remote Learning
On Thursday April 2, I had my first experience helping my grandson with his ELA assignment via Hangouts. I had the opportunity to hear him read his novel to me and then discuss and answer questions. I want him to succeed, I want my granddaughter to succeed. I know that their teachers and parents are working hard together to make this new adventure work.
Our role, whether a teacher, parent, grandparent, counsellor, mentor, we all have an opportunity to make an impact on those entrusted to us. Everything has changed, what we had yesterday we may not have tomorrow, but it will be something better if we are willing to embrace these new uncharted waters.
I came across this article that touches upon the very heart of what our high school students and recent graduates are dealing with as they maneuver through the vast opportunities that lie before them, yet for some reason it seems enough is not being done to help students make these very crucial decisions. This four part series that was posted by Global News touches on the following :
Failure to launch kids" Canadian students are not prepared for adulthood
Students are not ready to face the challenges of adulthood due to the lack of knowlege and the skills needed to carry out every day responsibilities (I do not mean attending classes at the post-secondary level - they have attained that skill over the past 12 years of K-12 school). Students can solve a complex math problem but may not know how to set up a bank account or do their tax return. Practical and theoretical knowledge need to be taught hand in hand. The bottom line, students have not figured out what they want to do after high school, we need to provide all the options - college, university, work, gap year for life experience, all of these avenues are viable options.
One size does not fit all, Canadian campuses need better mental health services
Students need to be heard and they need to know that they are not alone, saying you are OK when you really are not needs to be addressed. It is OK to not be OK and be able to say it out loud. Mental illness and suicide rates have increased drastically - this ties in with the demand for more counsellors to be available to help students when they are seeking guidance.
University is not better than college, then why is it getting all the glory
In my years of counselling high school students I give equal weight to both university and college. Colleges provide both hands on training alongside the theory with very positive results. Universities are beginning to understand the benefits of joint co-op programs that can be integrated with degree programs.
Canadian school counsellors are stretched thin, and it's our students that suffer
This final article deals with what school counsellors face on a daily basis within the high school and post-secondary settings. The question that comes to mind is how can we effectively, as counsellors, schools,and parents help the next generations be ready for adulthood? The age old question "What do you want to be when you grow up" needs to be refreshed, or asked in a different way, It is such a broad question with no real guidance for open communication. The answer is usually IDK (I don't know).
Global News (September 17, 24, October 1 and October 8)
Today I spent time putting together a bulletin board that is highlighting the upcoming Career Fair. But this is not just a design that just happens overnight for me, it takes time to plan, to create, to map out and then produce. Throughout the course of the day there was excitement and anticipation and such positive comments of bringing a huge concept into a small space. This is a very prominent bulletin board that will be viewed by all ages Kindergarten to age 99 because of the location. Everybody loves Dr. Seuss. This book touches on more than just the multitude of pathways in life, he talks about the challenges, the ups and downs, the bumps and valleys, the highs and the lows, the choices that we make - some good and some not so good. Everybody can relate no matter the age.