Last school year, I was so inspired by the way two of my colleagues created a chance for students to look into their futures and see themselves doing exciting things. The idea was pretty simple – a campus-wide career day – but the impact was powerful, and it took a lot of thought and work to pull off.
Educators Jodi Trammell and Renee Davis invited engineers, lawyers, a fighter pilot, a zoologist, a cosmetologist, the owners of the local pizza place – a total of 43 speakers from the community.
Jodi and Renee made sure people from all kinds of backgrounds were represented at the event, including people who have pursued all types of education – some with college degrees, some who received certifications from trade or vocational schools, and some with military experience. The hope was that every kid would be able to imagine themselves in the shoes of different adults standing in front of them. Kids were trying on a fighter pilot uniform, asking questions about job responsibilities, and hearing firsthand from people in a variety of different careers from all different backgrounds – it was awesome. In the afternoon, eighth grade students gave their own presentations to younger students on careers they’d researched. It was so cool to watch them own their learning.
The event was an ‘all hands on deck’ kind of day for the school, and it was powerful to see all these adults from our community coming together to support students. Jodi and Renee are the type of student-centered teachers who see their students as their kids. I can only imagine how much time it took them to build connections with all these adults, reach out throughout their networks and get everyone organized, but the result was a display of the power of collaboration and a belief that these students can and will do great things in the future.
Seeing 43 adults visit their school – and their teachers putting in the time to make it happen – sent an important message to the kids: ‘Your community cares about your future.’ Jodi and Renee’s work is an incredible reminder that we aren’t on our own as educators – our kids’ families and the adults they see each day can be partners in their learning if we take the time to invite them in.