by Aleeha Shah | staff writer
As students get older, the stress of planning for their future creeps up on them. While planning in college is a necessity, there are many resources designed to help high school students begin planning their careers early on.
“As far as exploring careers, we have a lot of really great resources for students. One of the main ones our district has is a subscription to a program called Kuder Navigator, and what that is is students can use it for free, and it provides what their skill set is. In other words where strengths may lend themselves to really great professions for them,” lead counselor Courtney Tarbox said.
Along with many resources found on the counseling website, students can also take classes, offered at Johnson, that provide experience in a certain field. One of these classes is “Instructional Practices in Education & Training”, or IPET.
“For the first four to six weeks of school, we just learn about the rules. We learn about some basics of teaching, different types of learners, how to be an effective classroom teacher; the difference a classroom environment makes on a student,” career and technology teacher Leah Plumas said. “And then, I place my student at an elementary school or a middle school that feeds into Johnson, and they start mentoring with a teacher at that school.”
This hands-on experience can help a student understand if a career in education is a foreseeable future, and is something they enjoy doing.
“For me, it’s making me want to be a teacher more, and it’s helping me make the path clear for me that I really want to be a teacher. Maybe if a kid isn’t really sure if they want to be a teacher or not maybe this course can help them with that,” Junior, Reagan Stone said.
This class also allows students to make themselves known in the local community, which in turn could allow for more opportunities to obtain a career in education after they graduate.
“You definitely get your name out to the community. The students at the school get to know you. And so if you were to come back to San Antonio and want to teach one day, you would have a better chance of getting a job at a place where they know what you’re capable of,” Plumas said.
In addition to the education classes, students interested in the field of medicine have the opportunity to participate in a program called clinical rotations.
“In clinical rotations, we’re actually in the classroom for the first eight weeks, where [students] learn all about vital signs, infection control, safety, bed making. and all the things they need to know prior to going to the hospital,” health science teacher Carla Jacobs said. “Then after that we are out at the hospital three days a week, and they rotate through the different units at the hospital, so that they are exposed to all areas of the hospital. And it helps them try to determine what areas that they are going to like best.”
According to junior Magda Harden, this course can help students by providing students with a basis of understanding, and helping them decide if they want to stay in the medical field.
“I feel like it’ll just show them what they might be interested in. I feel like if you aren’t sure if the medical field is for you this will show you whether it is or isn’t, and it will show you if you’re actually interested in this,” Harden said. “I feel like it’s beneficial to take this now in high school, so you don’t go to college and you don’t have to pay for the medical classes in college, which are a lot more expensive than they are now. So I feel like if you kind of confront that early on you could save a lot of time and money in the future.”
The different skills and techniques these students learn in their field of interest can teach students what it is actually like to work in these career fields.
“There’s so many different things that they’re exposed to, and so within all our classes, all of career and technology, we expose you to a lot of those different things, so we have a huge benefit in teaching you real world information,” Jacobs said.
In addition to taking these vocational-type courses, students also have the option to intern at various places of interest, according to Tarbox.
“We know internships are very important, and it offers many opportunities for students. It helps them explore a career field they are interested in and decide if that’s really a career interest that is a best match for them,” Tarbox said. “It also provides great work experience in kind of a professional setting.”
Although obtaining an internship is hard, students can interested in engineering can also find internships.
“There are some companies that will do internships that actually do civil engineering around town, but you have to contact them privately to see if they have an opening to help teach you to work with their surveying, or to work with their audit program,” engineering teacher Robert Megerle said.
Being an intern for an engineering company also includes experiencing the daily life of an engineer in the real world.
“They get to see what they need to learn about in school to support what they’re going to do for their career. I don’t want to say job- I want to say career. So, if they truly want to be an engineer, they can see what does a typical engineer need to know to do their job,” Megerle said.
It is very important for students to start planning for their futures while they are still in high school, so they will have a more tangible idea of what their potential career will entail, according to Tarbox.
“There’s many times where students get into college, and start studying a program and they change their major. The important thing is for students to have some type of focus and goal- an idea of what they want to do,” Tarbox said. “We also encourage students to utilize any time of work or summer experiences to explore their careers… because something that we think in our head of what a career or profession will be like may be different in reality.”