From the time a child is small, most parents and guardians are hyper-focused on one thing: How can I help my child thrive?
As a middle school counselor, I’m here to tell you that you can help your student thrive by talking to them early about careers so they can become college and career ready.
You might be left wondering about the following questions:
“Isn’t middle school a little early?”
“Why are you rushing them to grow up?”
“Why can’t we just let kids be kids? They have plenty of time to worry about a career when they are out of school.”
Here are my top three reasons to start talking to your middle schooler about careers:1) These conversations help students connect learning to their future.
Middle school is the time when some students start to develop apathy toward school. As an educator, I can’t tell you have many times I have heard “What’s the point?” “We’re never going to use this!” “Why do we even have to go to school?” or even “I HATE school!” As you learn more about your child’s career interests, you can help them make the connection between what they’re learning and how they can use it in the real world. Bonus: when students can see how their education is relevant, their grades increase. (Hooray!)2) Learning more about their interests, skills, aptitudes, and personality helps students choose an endorsement before entering high school.
Texas education requirements state that all students must choose an endorsement before entering high school. In middle school, we help students learn more about themselves to help prepare them for this decision.
All students learn basically the same curriculum until fifth grade. In middle school, students gradually begin to choose what classes they take. This creates a sense of autonomy and purpose in students. By the time they register for high school in eighth grade, their courses of study can be completely different compared to what another student has chosen, which can feel empowering to them.
Middle school counselors and educators do our part by helping students learn more about who they are. We also help expose them to careers that fit their interests, personality, aptitudes, and skills. Though their career goals and aspirations may change throughout high school and beyond, our goal is to help them understand their individuality while they are in our care so that they can make educated choices along the way.
For more information on how you can help prepare your middle schooler for high school and beyond, check out “Quest for Your Student’s Success: Family Guide to Your Middle School Student’s Future.”