Last week, my friend Chris and I re-entered the elementary school classroom to share some what we have learned over the years with a group of grade 8 students. Fortunately we did this through a very well established & structured program; Junior Achievement. (I don’t think just showing up out of the blue would have worked.)
Chris and I, alongside 60 other Rotman students, ventured out to an array of schools around the city to run the children through a program entitled “Economics For Success“. We were fortunate to be placed at Rockcliffe Middle School where we covered an array of activities including:
- Having the children record their dreams and what they saw as success
- Identifying what employable skills they already possessed and the different forms of education that can help them along the way
- Conducting a monthly budgeting exercise and learning the real constraints & demands of living on your own
- Practising interview skills and how they can position existing experiences as something of relevance to a potential employer
- Learning how education (i.e. apprenticeship programs, college, university) following high school can provide an array of opportunities
The program was very well structured and provided the children with practical problems and exercises to prepare them for real-life situations. The Junior Achievement program made it incredibly easy for a couple of guys with no teaching experience to facilitate a day long program that held the attention of 13/14 year olds. (In saying that I don’t think we would have survived if the actual teacher for the class had not been there – she had a “3, 2 ,1” rule that helped get the class back on track when needed).
At any rate, the purpose of this post is two fold:
To promote Junior Achievement
The JA program is a great way for professionals to give back to the community in a very meaningful way. By giving up a day, you can equip a large group of students with practical skills that they will use for a life time. This is a great activity for any company or team to get behind, as such I urge you to check out Junior Achievement’s website and give them some serious consideration.
To share my respect for teachers
After our day concluded, both Chris and I were both elated and exhausted. Although rewarding, it takes a tremendous amount of energy to keep our youth engaged throughout the day. After this, I have reaffirmed my respect for individuals that can do this on a daily basis. I believe the following video properly articulates the role of the teacher & what they make: