It may seem like a long time ago since you took up that one subject in Guidance and Counseling in college but waver not! There’s no need to take a refresher course for you to effectively guide your students towards the most rewarding career paths for them.
- Be an example of happiness and contentment. The only competition that can give financial rewards a run for its money is happiness. Remind your students everyday that career is not an issue of immediate monetary returns but of enduring returns. Seeing you smiling despite the stress of your work (and the delayed salary if you will) will inspire them to choose careers they will enjoy in the long run. It will also show them how, even if industry demands change, who they are and what gives them joy will remain rock-steady.
- Encourage self-reflection and self-discovery. With all the diversions and recreation students have, taking time off to think and reflect might be the last thing on their to-do list. You can help them by giving them a few minutes at homeroom to ponder on some questions like: “What do I like best about myself?” or “What do I want to do for the next five years?” If this seems too serious, use games like Icebreaker or Query.
- Let them express their plans and dreams. Many students, when asked what they want to do in life, just shrug and say, “I don’t know.” Perhaps they don’t, perhaps they do but haven’t really thought about it. Allowing them to express their dreams-no matter how far-out-promotes the value of thinking ahead and the skill of planning. Ask them to create an image of who they will be ten years from now and to write about what they have accomplished within ten years. This way, it will seem like they have already achieved what they desire.
- Commend a student’s strengths to him and to his peers. Giving praise where it is due certainly makes a difference. Notice the smallest victories in any field or aspect of life. Did someone submit an exceptional drawing or essay? Made friends with everyone? Fixed a broken chair? Receiving positive remarks about his/her output or attitude boosts self-esteem and encourages a student to pursue his/her best attributes. Making a student’s peers see your sign of approval makes them appreciate the person’s worth, creating a community where students are not forced to see academics as the only standard of worth.
- Introduce them to a variety of successful people. Provide them with role models of passion and good career choice, be it a college graduate or a high school dropout. It is common fare for students to meet college graduate bigwigs in their lessons. There are many of them after all as if to prove that college is the only way out of poverty. What is difficult is to convince people that college is not for everyone and is not the only option. If you namedrop successful celebrities and tycoons who didn’t go to college, they just might rethink the entire thing.
- Talk about a student’s best qualities and possible options to his/her parents. Hearing of their child’s passion and perseverance in something never fails to make parents proud of their children. Hearing of the best qualities of their child from a teacher enhances their understanding of their child and makes them more open to options other than theirs. Inform them of possibilities for their child and emphasize long-term rewards over immediate gains. For those students who are not apt for college education, dwell on the positive traits of the student so that parents will see the benefits of alternative options like technical-vocational careers.
- Organize a simple education and career directory. Because of the unavailability of organized information on education and career options, make a simple one for your homeroom class. You can put a simple list of college courses and technical-vocational specializations and their corresponding job or industry requirements. At the bottom of the list, include contact numbers for some colleges or universities and institutions that offer technical-vocational programs. You may also include local bureau or government agency hotlines.