Hey, high school seniors! It’s graduation season! That means you just successfully made it through more or less twelve years of schooling, that’s incredible! While graduation is exciting, it can also be so daunting. Pestered with questions of, “Where are you going next?” and, “What career are you going to have when you graduate?” fill your time. Let me give you some tips that can help you get through this transitional time in your life. These tips are both from me and trusted friends of mine.
You’re only 18 years old, you don’t need a concrete plan for the rest of your life. This is a great time to explore options and see where you want life to take you, so take that time!
The options for after graduation are endless, take your time to break each down and decide what you really want to do.
Listen to the experience from others to help you decide where you’re going and what you’re doing.
Find a way to serve. The best way to be in tune with yourself and what you need is to forget yourself- really! Find some way in your community that you can serve and reach out, especially if it’s in a field of work you hope to pursue. It may lead you down a path you never knew you wanted to go down as well!
Let others share the excitement with you. I know during a global pandemic it can be hard to find a way to get together with close family and friends to celebrate your achievement, but great creative! Drive-up parties are popular right now where friends and family drive up, stay in their car, and talk to you from a safe distance. Once they are done, they pull away and the next car drives up.
Read this post about an open letter to the graduating class of 2020.
Hey seniors! College is coming, and one of the many decisions you are about to make is what your major will be. It’s daunting to choose a path that can determine the rest of your life. Here’s hoping that after reading this, the decision will be slightly easier for you. Here are some of my favorite tips from myself and other trusted sources on how to choose a college major.
Know your personality type. I am a big advocate for Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and how it can help you be successful in your life. Knowing this can help you with the direction in your college path and eventually where your career will end up. You can read about it here or take the test to find your personality here. You can even read about your personality type in the workplace and common careers among that MBTI in the description of each type.
Decide what degree of education you want to obtain. You can stop at an associate’s degree, or continue on to a doctorate. How far you take your education can help you decide which major to choose.
Don’t stress over choosing one right away. Some people know what they want their major to be by 8th grade. Others it takes until their Sophomore or Junior year of college before they know. It’s all in your own timing. Take a variety of classes if you don’t know right away. Most importantly, remember that this is the time in your life where not having a direct plan or having an opportunity to explore is okay and even encouraged. Take advantage of that!
Truly consider your school choice when choosing a college major. Schools are known for and will put more funding into certain majors that they are known well for.
Know that it’s okay to change your mind. On average, the majority of college students will change their major at least once before graduation.
Your time is finally here, you did it! You made it through.
You survived the endless group projects.
You walked the hallways and sidewalks of your school’s campus for years, and now you’re walking them for the final time.
You created new relationships.
You slacked off at times and worked hard at other times.
The hours you clocked doing homework, staying up late studying for tests, and re-watching powerpoints have finally paid off.
You are applauded for your dedication to your education.
You are inspiring others to push on to graduation as well!
You are our future.
Our future doctors, electricians, lawyers, agriculture scientists, professors, journalists, and more.
And now you’re about to embark on a journey none of us have had to go through before. You are pioneering a way for us all, stepping into the unknown.
Because of the Coronavirus shutdowns, many of you aren’t finishing your schooling in a traditional way, and your graduation ceremonies have been canceled. You are packing up, heading home, and resorting to a completely online platform to finish.
There won’t be a day for you to zip up your graduation gown or put on your cap, which is absolutely heartbreaking and scary for most. It seems unfair, and it truly is. But please know this- Just because you were robbed of your opportunity to walk at graduation does not make you less.
It absolutely does not mean you are any less of a student or graduate.
It does not mean you didn’t work incredibly hard.
It does not take away those endless nights of studying or editing papers.
It’s hard to go through something so big in your life and not have the proper recognition for it.
It’s scary to be the first, and maybe only, that has to go through this unique situation.
Here’s your recognition, while not sufficient, please know that we recognize you and applaud you. We see the hard work you’ve gone through and the time you’ve put in. We see the hurt you have for not being able to walk at graduation.
You pushed through the hard times and made it here today.
Your typical school week: Monday-Friday with the hours sometime between 7 am- 4 pm. But slowly over the nation, schools are switching to a four-day school week. Class runs Monday- Thursday with an added 40-60 minutes each day to compensate for the lost time by not having the schools run on Fridays. Sometimes even starting school earlier in the school year, or keeping kids a few days later in the spring to again, make up for the lost time.
At first, this may not seem worth it. In the end, the time spent at school is the same, just spread differently. So what are the pros and cons?
Schools that have shortened to four days saw an increase in student attendance.
Utility bills were less, as well as a decrease in labor costs and bus expenses.
Teachers are less stressed and happier because they have an extra day for their weekend.
The fifth day of the week can be used for tutoring, school activities, and collaboration between teachers and peers, still leaving Saturday for free time, instead of taking up the entire weekend.
Students who have special needs or are behind academically had a harder transition to the shorter week.
Juvenile crime rates went up significantly.
Longer days of school can be harder on the students, especially the younger grades.
Childcare expenses can become a problem for working parents.
The research is scattered over four-day school weeks, a study in one state shows thousands of dollars saved, with reading and math scores going up, while another school shows no money saved and test scores dropping for a few years before they start to rise again.
One thing that does seem fairly consistent in the research is the first five or so years of adapting to the new schedule for schools with negative side effects before seeing improvement in the later years. This alone is a big reason districts are hesitant to change. But overall, will the change improve long-term results? Is it worth it at the cost of potentially putting students through a few hard years? Some are saying no, and others are saying yes.
What side of the fence are you on? What other pros and cons do you see?
This is a series of provocations designed to provide resources for students to inquire into the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. For more, click here.
The purpose for the SDG of Quality Education is to “Ensure inclusive & equitable education & promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
While this goal focuses largely on developing countries, rooting out educational disparities anywhere will aid in this effort. This week’s provocation is designed to get kids thinking about why disparities exist and how progress might be made.
Resource #1: The work of Matiullah Wesa (great article on GlobalCitizen, and his Twitter account is packed with documentation of their efforts).
This is part of a series of inquiry-based provocations for essential elements of the PYP and the Learner Profile. For more, click here.
Anyone who works with kids knows that much of that effort is a balancing act. And when it comes to balance, commitment involves quite a lot of that balance. Think about it–we want kids to develop the skills to stick with things even when it’s hard, but we also want them to learn to recognize and honor when specific pursuits no longer work for them (ie, notion of abandoning books that aren’t doing it for you, trading soccer for theater, etc). Inviting kids into the conversation about how to build commitment while honoring autonomy is key. So as you take a look at these incredible examples of commitment, you might consider how to invite dialogue on this element of balance as well!.
In the video below (recently shared by AJ Juliani in my PLN — thanks, AJ!), Todd Rose shares the following story (starting at 22:07).
In the 1960’s scientists were puzzled why the infant reflex to “walk” disappears after around 2 months, later returning when they are ready to walk at around a year old. Based on a method of averages, they determined it had to do with the fact that our brains mature and therefore suppress that reflex. This belief ended up in pediatrics books, which landed babies getting checked for developmental brain delays and remediation if their reflex didn’t go away by 2 months. Fortunately, Esther Thelen later proved this false; by looking at individuals rather than averages, and by varying the contexts with each of these babies, she discovered that at 2 months of age, infants’ thighs simply get chubbier, rendering their legs too heavy to lift that way.
“So here we have this really complicated story about brain maturation that we’re sending kids off to remediation off of, when it turns out it has nothing to do with that, just by taking context seriously.”
As an educator, the phrase, “taking context seriously” jumps out to me. We know we are in the business of working with people. We know learning is a messy process. We know that we need to see our students as individuals first.
Yet all these truths seem to take a back seat when it comes to testing, GPAs, and report cards.
Why? Because we consistently sweep away that context of the individual in favor of finding and measuring up against that ever-supreme average.
Fortunately, research like Todd Rose’s is finally shedding light on just how misleading the average is when we are looking at the individual (he makes the point that it can still be very valuable when looking at large groups, but that when it comes to individuals, average does not exist). Though the longstanding belief has been that we use the “average” because it matches the largest number of people, the truth is that we are so complex that the average actually ends up matching virtually no one.
So in education, it’s when we “take context seriously” that we find out where a learner really is on their journey.
We take into account all the nuances and complexities of the individual to not only analyze just how far they’ve come (ie, taking into account poverty, developmental delays, etc) but to identify their strengths that will help them work toward mastery.
As Rose says later in the talk,
“Empower students with self-knowledge to make choices on their own behalf.”
We have the tools in our 21st century world to help our students understand their own contexts and leverage that knowledge to take ownership over their own learning process. We need to resist the idea that certain skills and knowledge need to be attained by certain, average benchmarks in time because these averages, in fact, apply to so few people.
Our individual contexts are just too unique to be lumped into the average.
Note, at the end of the Google Talk, Rose addressed some excellent audience questions, including how we measure success in the education system in lieu of the average. Rose shares two fascinating possibilities I also wanted to share here:
1. As tech is giving us greater opportunities for individualized learning, we’ll soon see a shift, especially in higher-ed, toward “Micro-credentials and competency based measurements” instead of the traditional semesters/grades system.
2. We need to use clearly defined, competency-based outcomes to measure success. To know how well an individual is doing, we need benchmark them against their own progression in that competency, and you don’t have to look at anyone else’s progress to know that. (“A diploma with a 3.2 vs. “I have these competencies.””)