Take Your Kids To Work Day – A Great Way to Get an Important Conversation Started

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By: Jennifer Anstiss OCT.,M.Ed.,  Educational Consultant and Reading Specialist

This Wednesday, November 4th will be Canada’s annual Bring Your Kids to Work Day.  This event, aimed at Grade 9 students across the country, encourages students to go into the workplace of a parent, relative, friend or volunteer as a way of connecting with the world of work outside of the classroom.  This event encourages young adults to begin to think about their own career path and to begin to consider what their future may look like after graduation.

As an educator, I have always been a big fan of this program.  It is important for students to understand that there is a real world of work which exists at the end of their educational journey.  And while most students understand that, having watched their parent or caregiver go out to work each day, a good many of them do not have a tangible concept of what workplaces look like as an employee.  Bring Your Kids to Work day is a very concrete way to help students understand what the world looks like outside of the four walls of a classroom.

As an educator, I have also enjoyed when teachers ask students to come back to school and share their experiences with their class.  I have always subscribed to the philosophy that it takes a village to have a village.  I think we need our students to develop an understanding that in order to have a fully functioning society we need  people to do all forms of work, that there is value in all occupations from food service, to waste management to the traditionally thought of doctors, lawyers, fire firefighters to the quantum physicists and theoretical engineers.  When students come back to school and share their experiences, they begin to understand that there is significant diversity in work environments and perhaps either their specific experience or one of their peer’s will help them to connect with a possible career path for themselves.

As a mother, I am excited that this year my daughter will be able to participate in the program.  As a young teen she is beginning to think about what type of work she may like to become involved in but it is still a very abstract idea to her.  By going to work with my husband, her dad, she will be able to see what a “job” really looks like.  It will give her a very basic introduction to the idea of departments and bosses and project accountability. It will also give her insight into what it means to “work” to earn a living, that pay is more than doing household chores to buy food at the school cafeteria or to go for a coffee with friends.  And perhaps, it will help her to think about what will come next for her.  As a student, she has only known what it means to be a student, this is a chance to see what the real world looks like once schooling is done and to start to talk about what that world may look like for her in a few years.

I am also really looking forward to the conversations that will develop after the day.  My students who have previously participated in the program have had some really interesting reactions.  I have had some students come to the realization that for them, the idea of working nine to five in an office environment is simply not for them, while others were surprised by how much they enjoyed working in a medical environment and while they had never considered that field before, they were considering afterwards.  One student realized he could never work for someone and now as he starts his career, he has found a way not to.  I am looking forward to the insights my daughter will gain as well as the connections she may make to the real world or work.

Now obviously, one day in a work environment which may or may not be related to what a student’s interest may be, is not enough to base an application to a post secondary program or apprenticeship program on, but it is a place to start the conversation.  The day has not even happened in our house yet but my daughter has already asked to look at college admission requirements for the fields she is interested in and has asked if she can go for lunch with my sister, a social worker, to ask her specific questions about the different kinds of work she has done in her career, as it is a field of work she is considering.  As a parent and an educator I think anything that can get our youth planning, thinking and talking about their futures is a very valuable experience and I am looking forward to the conversations in our house that follow this Wednesday’s experience with Take Your Kids to Work Day.

This article was originally published November 2015.

Take Your Kids To Work Day – A Great Way to Get an Important Conversation Started | CST Blog | C.S.T. Consultants Inc.

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