The other day I was talking to one of the seniors who works as a library aide. He was complaining about not getting hired; I asked him the same questions I keep asking my sophomores:
Me: How many places did you apply?
Him: Like, six…the Taco Bell, the Wendy’s, Dairy Queen…
Me: What did you wear when you picked up the application?
Him: I did it online.
Me: Did you submit a resume?
Him: My mom said I didn’t need one.
Me: Did you call and ask about the status of your application?
Him: The application said they’d call me…
After I explained to him some of the things he can do to help show his initiative and get hired, I turned and found three other seniors standing at the library check out counter, listening intently to me, despite the fact that the bell had rung 30 seconds earlier. One girl spoke up and asked how she is supposed to know all this stuff. As she was leaving, I got to thinking how cool it would be to host a workshop for students to teach them these types of hiring tips…after all, if their parents don’t know them, how are the kids supposed to?
I first checked with another English teacher if she’d be interested in helping out, then with our principal. I spent the rest of my lunch talking to one of our subs who spent 30 years in human resources; he had some great tips. After some brainstorming, we decided that next Tuesday after school we will be hosting the first ever Get Hired! workshop for students. We will give them tips about what to wear, how and why to put together a resume, why thank you notes and personal call backs are important, and how to present themselves on paper, in an interview, and online. Several English teachers volunteered to join us and help look at kids’ resumes, or help them create one if they don’t have one. Rumor has it a few staff members might attend as well.
We had a whole Career Services office in college that helped with things like this; as wonderful as our counselors are, two of them serve the 700 upperclassmen and the third works with all freshmen AND state testing…they don’t have time. I’m so ridiculously excited to be part of helping kids learn life skills. I’m still waiting to find out what I’ll be teaching next year (there is a lot of internal job shuffling going on right now), but I look forward to trying to build more of these discussions into my curriculum. The kids in this small town so desperately need them.