The modern-day student is more confused than he or she has ever been. A range of factors has led Riya, a Grade 9 student at a leading Delhi school confused about her career choices. AI, ML, Automation are some of the possible factors which have made jobs and careers as a volatile territory.
The Fact Files
Millions of students like Riya are confronted with the following alarming statistics when they seek answers to their career queries:
- Uncertainty 2.0: As per a PwC study, 38% of jobs in the USA are at high risk of being replaced by Artificial Intelligence.
- New job roles: 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not even been invented yet.
- Automation and jobs: Over 800 million jobs are being threatened by automation, with over 70% of IT jobs under threat.
When faced with stats like these, concern related to careers is certainly bound to rise. And with career queries, teachers and career counsellors have an integral role to play in students’ success.
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Teachers: First Level Career Counsellors
Riya, 14 a consistent performer in academics and an upcoming badminton player, always had a pressing concern to fulfill her parents’ expectations of her which primarily included:
- Securing a seat at an IIT
- Becoming an engineer, and
- Getting a good placement in an MNC
Her class teacher, Ms. Poonam was able to deduce her rising worries as she observed her dipping performance in badminton. She held periodic interventions with Riya and over a period of a few months, Riya secured the top position at the State level badminton event. Now, this happens to be a true story and it basically helps us in identifying the importance of a teacher when it comes to career guidance at a tender age.
To become a Global Career Counsellor
Ms. Poonam, like thousands of teachers, serves as first level career counsellors for students. Students spend almost a third of their day’s duration in schools and thus, teachers have a considerable influence in guiding students in the right direction.
The top 5 ways through which teachers can serve as effective first level career counsellors are:
- Serve as common ground: Teachers have an inter-personal network in place with students and their parents and they can yield significant power when it’s down to career discussion. Teachers know students well enough to understand their inherent strengths and areas of improvement and can give a close sneak peek into student’s interest to his or her parents. Parents are usually blindfolded by their own aspirations and dreams for their child when career discussions start heating up.
- Trigger Interest in Careers: Teachers can initiate classroom discussions while discussing subjects. This could serve as trigger points for careers and possible streams that students can opt for once in Grade 11th. When careers are discussed as organic plugins as a part of a subject extension, students would be intrigued and become an active participant in their career journeys from an early age.
- Address Stress related issues: With mounting parental, peer and relative pressures, students are more likely to take wrong career decisions without any proper guidance and thought going into the same. A teacher can conduct an intervention with the student and guide him or her to the career counsellor as the need arises. Students like Riya are more open to sharing their concerns with their teachers which they might not be able to talk with their parents.
- Guidance for the specially abled: Students with special needs need guidance as per their special needs and thus, they can be guided in the right careers at the right time. Special training if required can be provided. Usually, teachers have been able to identify special talents like STEM prowess, music or fine arts abilities. A teacher can help students in being properly guided and directed in the right direction and the need becomes more delicate when specially-abled students are taken into context.
- Profile Planning: Teachers can guide students in being more focused while planning their profiles which could include some of the following activities to take up in their chosen domains:
- Extra-curricular activities like music, dance, dramatics, painting, etc.
- Co-curricular activities like olympiads, quizzes, etc.
- Summer Programs and Internships to opt for
With ever-increasing stress on more holistic profiles with acceptance rates at top colleges dropping to below 10%, the importance of a teacher as a first level career counsellor is only bound to increase.
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