You're able to view this page because you subscribed to CAREEREALISM. This free tool is our way of thanking you! Be sure to bookmark this page so you can return to it again and again. The information you requested can be viewed below or downloaded via the following button. Download PDF *To download, right-mouse click the button and select “Save Link As” from the menu. By CAREEREALISM Founder, J.T. O’Donnell This checklist provides an overview of the complete step-by-step process for identifying a career path and pursuing jobs that suit your needs. Using the right attitude and resources, you can narrow down the unlimited number of career choices and find a great job, just by following these simple steps: 1. Identify where you want to live. It sounds obvious, but honestly, there is no better way to narrow down a career search than defining where you want to live while you work. If your answer is "anywhere," then take the time to figure out where you would LOVE to live. Pick no more than two locations so you can limit your search to these towns and the surrounding areas. Keeping in mind, cost-of-living, transportation access, proximity to family and friends, etc., you'll want to select places that suit your lifestyle and budget. 2. Determine your skills, work preferences, and personal strengths. Take the time to write out on paper all the things you excel at. Ask friends and family to give their input as to what they think are your best assets when it comes to helping others and being effective doing tasks. It's time to organize your thoughts as to who you are and what you can offer to potential employers. Use assessment tests (i.e. my ISAT Test) to help you summarize your unique combination of skills and abilities so you can match them to careers and articulate them to hiring managers. 3. Create a list of "must-haves," "nice-to-haves," and "don't wants" with respect to work. What is most important to you? What do you want your first job to provide you with? What things must be present in your work so you can achieve not only your professional goals, but your personal goals as well? Keep this list handy and use it as a way to gage a career's ability to satisfy your needs. Note: The longer you make this list, the harder it will be for you to find a satisfying career. Don't make the mistake many Americans make with respect to career: expecting too much from your job is the fastest way to becoming unhappy. A good career doesn't guarantee a happy and fulfilling life. It's up to you to keep your career in perspective and make sure that you are able to find happiness outside of work. A career is just one aspect of who you are - it does not define you as a person, so don't wrap your personal identity up too much in what you do for a living. 4. Research careers using career interest tests. One of the best career interest tests I've ever seen is offered on-line by the University of Missouri Career Center. It can be found here. It is called "The Career Interests Game" and the university's career center designed it using Dr. John Holland's RIASEC Model of Occupations. This is part of the copyrighted work of Dr. Holland and his company, PAR, Inc. This test helps you see why you gravitate towards particular careers and provides extensive information on each career. Bonus: You can also download a copy of their Holland Code Guide here! 5. Create a Career Story (a.k.a. Personal Brand Statement). Write out and rehearse a short summary of who you are and why you feel a particular career is a good fit with your interests and strengths. Be sure to highlight your attributes and how you see them helping you to succeed in this particular career. You'll want to rehearse and get comfortable with this story so you can tell it, without hesitation, to anyone you meet, especially friends, family, teachers and potential employers. Anyone who could help you in your career search should be able to easily understand and get excited by your Career Story. 6. Design a high-impact resume that showcases your strengths and accomplishments. Most resume formats used today are out-dated and ineffective. Your resume should be a simple, one-page summary of your experience. But more importantly, it should quickly draw attention to your best attributes. 7. Set up and complete Informational Interviews. Contact your career center, your parents, friends and anyone else you can think of to help you identify individuals in your field(s) of interest. Your goal? To set up either a phone call or in-person meeting with them to learn more about this particular career and how they have become successful doing it. Note: You are NOT asking for a job, or even interviewing for one. You are simply gathering data so you can make an informed decision about a career. Think of yourself as a reporter, trying to get the whole story. The good news is the majority of college grads and young professionals who take the time and make the effort to complete Informational Interviews, usually end up getting job offers from either the person they interviewed, or someone they subsequently referred them to. This is called "networking" and it is the #1 method for getting access to the best job opportunities! 8. Pick a career based on how it will suit your needs, not someone else's. When choosing a career, make sure you choose a career you will enjoy… a career that will inspire you to want to learn more and grow your abilities. Becoming an “expert” in a field is one of the best ways to find career success and satisfaction. To achieve this, you must find your internal motivation for work. This can only be found when you choose work that makes you feel challenged, excited, and alive. Choosing a job solely to impress others, get status and recognition, or make a lot of money, may make you feel good in the short-term, but in the long-term, you will feel empty and unmotivated. Ask anyone who has chosen a career using these misguided reasons and they'll share with you the unhappy results. 9. Keep it in perspective. Statistics show most Americans today will have as many as nine careers in their lifetimes with an average of three jobs in each career. Do the math. You are going to be doing a lot of different kinds of work in your life, which means, they'll be plenty of opportunities to switch paths, should you find one no longer suits you. They call it a "career path" because of all the twists and turns you'll take along the way! 10. Take action! If you want to find a good, satisfying job, then you need to make the effort. Even a college degree does not guarantee a successful career. You've got to do the soul-searching, research, and action steps necessary for finding a career that best suits you. The sooner you realize and embrace the need to proactively search for a career, the faster you'll be on your way to finding the personal and professional success you want and deserve. So don't wait, and get to work!
As an education consultant observing instruction across content areas, grade bands, and schools, I have seen A LOT of instruction, both good and bad. While most teachers teach from a place of caring and compassion, the simple mistakes that I see teachers repeatedly making are undermining the overall impact that they could be having on learning especially when one considers the cumulative effect of poor teaching practices, across multiple teachers, on any one student.
Don’t get tangled up in this trap. Start upping your teaching game by canceling the following five teaching practices:
Using The Standard As The Lesson Objective
I sometimes see teachers using specific Common Core State Standards as the learning objective for an entire unit of study. For example, I once saw a fourth-grade teacher use “Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meaning (CCSS ELA-LITERACY L.4.5)" as the learning objective across many days of learning. This is an academically rigorous standard to be sure. However, as there are many types of figurative language, how does the teacher know they are meeting the precise intent of this standard unless they break down this standard into its component parts? Could each part then be a lesson/daily objective?
To answer, I suggest teachers draw upon the work of Larry Ainsworth in unwrapping standards. In a nutshell, Ainsworth’s model for deconstructing standards has educators identifying each concept (nouns) and skill (verbs) embedded within each standard to ensure that the complete intent of the standard is understood. More about the model can be found here.
Dumbing Down Objectives
My blood boiled over one day when a teacher told me that his students could not possibly meet learning objectives and/or success criteria that asked students to synthesize, evaluate, and/or create since his students were lower functioning. I have no doubt that this teacher was correct in saying that some of his students would, indeed, struggle in meeting higher-level success criteria. However, what then was this teacher doing to scaffold the learning so his lower-functioning students could succeed in meeting such objectives? First, develop lesson objectives with high achievement in mind so that high-performing students are not held back by low-performing students. Then, consider the scaffolds—such as one-on-one and small group direct instruction—that will be provided to lower-achieving students so they, too, can achieve rigorous objectives.
In developing rigorous learning objectives, those that place the cognitive lift on students, I recommend teachers use two tools—a Depth of Knowledge (DOK) Wheel and Hess’ Cognitive Rigor Matrix. The DOK Wheel will help educators to craft learning objectives inclusive of increasing levels of student challenge from a DOK Level One (Student Recall) through to a DOK Level Four (Extended Student Thinking). The Matrix will help teachers to compare their learning objectives, as currently written, to examples of those at varying levels of cognitive complexity so that these objectives may be rewritten to reflect higher levels of cognitive complexity. The Matrix is available for both humanities and math/science content areas.
Bonus Hack for Writing Objectives: When teachers write the learning objective into their guided practice slide decks, it is often only on the front slide. How can students refer to it/follow along if they can’t see it? Instead, include the objective on all slides or, better yet, write it on the class board.
Less is more. If a teacher’s guided practice drones on and on, as their coach, I sometimes ask if the teacher can call on a student to repeat and/or summarize what was said. Sometimes the student can but, other times, as the student begins to explain, they become confused. This is precisely why I ask this of teachers. If students are to retain information, research shows that there need to be breaks in long lectures. Chunk the learning. Allow a quick turn and talk so students can process learning before proceeding to ask students to repeat and/or summarize information.
On a related note, teachers should stop asking “Any questions?” as a matter of pro forma politeness before speeding along on the bullet train that is their lecture. Most students will not admit that they do not understand something unless it is teased from them. Instead, cold call and use other strategies such as polling, individual whiteboards, and signaling cards. And, when teachers do stop talking to ask questions of students, they can ensure that those questions are cognitively rigorous using this question stem tool.
Telling Students To Take Notes Instead Of Showing Them How
If I had a quarter for each time I heard “take notes.” What does this mean? One of the practices in which I engage when observing classes is to look over at what students are doing and the notes they are taking; the level of detail and amount of relevant information can vary widely. Instead, a good practice is to adopt a standard note-taking format like Cornell Notes. In adopting a standard format, teachers can scaffold notes, build in essential questions, and have students summarize their learning—all best practices discussed in this article. Further, students can assess the quality of not only their notes but that of peers and use these notes in the development of student-generated study guides.
One scaffolding technique that I suggest teachers use with Cornell Notes is to include unit-related vocabulary with which students may be struggling and/or may not yet have been exposed. Often, when students leave questions blank on assessments, it can be because students do not understand what is being asked of them because of the vocabulary being used. In addition to highlighting key vocabulary on Cornell Notes, consider expanding a student’s knowledge of related vocabulary through the use of varied Vocabulary CODE activities as well as tiered vocabulary in each content area.
Taking Class Time To Have Students Complete Worksheets
A standard practice that I have seen, when teachers are afraid to release control, is for students to complete worksheets independently and silently in class. First, teachers should consider if work needs to be done in class or, after modeling one or two examples of what students are to do, the rest of the worksheet can be done at home so that class time can be used for discussion of the work. Learning together builds creativity, blends individual strengths, and enhances the sense of collective ownership.
However, teachers are wise in anticipating where learning can go wrong, and there can be many reasons why students may not be focused during student-to-student-based activities. Still, the solution for most attention problems resides with the teacher. If students are unfocused and discussing unrelated matters during group work, give them the questions to discuss up front. If students can’t engage in discussions with one another appropriately, give them discussion/accountable talking stems. If some students are doing all the work while their teammates stand about idly, assign individual roles within each group as well as have students self-assess their level of contribution as well as peer assess that of their teammates. Also, provide exemplars of quality work and allow students some choice in how they demonstrate proficiency (the product) beyond that of a worksheet. There are also varied discussion protocols that can be used to differentiate the process through which students talk collaboratively about the content.
Word To The Wise
These are, without a doubt, some of the most common mistakes that I have seen educators make regardless of the amount of time that they have been in the profession. I, myself, was not immune from making these same missteps in the classroom. Still, being forewarned is forearmed and hopefully an awareness of these common pratfalls, along with a knowledge of the tools that can be used to navigate around them, will help ensure that not a moment of class time is wasted to inefficiency.
Please feel free to reach out to the author at John Schembari, Ed.D. | LinkedIn.