Before I was a Career Counsellor and Coach I worked as a Teacher Librarian for many years. There were many things I loved about this work, the best part being the kids. I never tired of their fresh outlook on the world, the way they could take an idea and expand it to make it their own.
When I decided to study to change my career I was working full time at a primary school, running a busy school resource centre, then going home to a husband and three teenagers. It was a very busy but fulfilling time of my life.
Being pulled in different directions
My work life at school was particularly busy because new curriculum was being introduced and working with the teachers to implement this was an important part of my role. I felt like I was constantly being pulled in different directions, not just between home and school, but also in my mind. I’d be focused on my work in a school resource centre, then drive home and be Mum, then go to my office and focus on career development reading and assignments.
The importance of career development throughout schooling
Then one day it all slotted together! I recognised that the new curriculum documents were aimed towards producing exactly the same outcome as the career development documents……..resilient individuals with the personal, social and intellectual skills to be the best they could be in life.
I started naming the career development that was already integrated into the curriculum, and we developed a school culture of foundational career development, awakening within the children an awareness of the purpose of schooling – to prepare you for the rest of your life. When the children realised this (particularly through an annual career day that we instigated) their interest in school rose, their realisation that each core subject was essential learning for life grew, and ambitions emerged.
Introducing the connection between school and ‘real life’
This was not about choosing a career. That would happen much later in their schooling. This was about realising that they were at school for a purpose and that “real life” success demanded that they be the best person they could be.
Career Education program won awards
Our career education program became highly regarded and won national awards. But far more important to me was that these students were given the opportunity, throughout their formative primary school years, to develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes which could strengthen their working lives, and hopefully help them achieve purposeful fulfilling careers.
If you happen to be interested in the school program we developed it is outlined in this slideshare Career Aspirations. Slide 42 shows two boys entertaining the crowd with their ‘rock band’. The guitarist in that photograph continued to entertain school crowds throughout high school, completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Music and is now part of a very popular rock band.
Whilst most people don’t have a clue what they want to be for much of their lives, some people have the passion and the deep understanding of their path in life from a very young age.