Hosting a career day or planning for a career week is a great experience to have students think beyond the four walls of their classroom. It brings the real world into the classroom and helps students begin to think about their futures.
Out of all of the events I have planned, career day was one of my favourites.
I have outlined the general steps for planning a career day below, as well as the process my school followed.
Hosting a Career Day Planning Steps
- Create a career day planning committee.
- Think about the purpose of this event e.g. community building, career awareness, curriculum-real life connections.
- Decide which grades will take part. I teach at a Kindergarten to Grade 8 school so we decided that Grade 4 through 8 would participate.
- Where will the event be held? What day will the event occur? If you have a space to host the event on one day then you may consider hosting the event all on one day. We decided to host it over several days so we did not have to cancel gym classes.
- Put a digital or paper survey out to the school and staff community asking for volunteer presenters. Set a deadline for submissions. We put parameters around the types of careers we wanted to present – the careers needed to align with our grade level Social Studies, Health or Science curriculum. We wanted students to see a direct link between what they were learning in the classroom and real life.
- Gather the committee together to review the career day presenter submissions. Sort the presenters into categories. Divide up who will contact each presenter. We divided it up by grade level. Each teacher volunteered to contact 5 presenters via email.
- Once you have finalized which presenters are available to present then create a schedule of presentations and send out formal invitations with details to the presenters (15 minutes for presentations, 10 minutes presentation, 5 minutes questions) 5 minutes for transitions between sessions. We had the presenters set up in classrooms and the classes rotated through each presentation. This was easier for the presenters so they did not have to travel from room to room with all of their items.
- Send along possible sample questions they can discuss. Also, encourage them to bring in tangible items and/or photos related to their careers to show to the students.
- Plan out a thank you gift for the presenters. We gifted the presenters with a school-branded coffee mug. There is a lot of great cost-effective DIY thank you ideas on Pinterest.
- Select students in each session to formally welcome and thank each presenter.
- Set up a refreshments area for the presenters to get coffee, tea, juice, or cookies and a place for them to store their outdoor apparel.
Hosting a Virtual Career Day
If your school is not able to put on a full in-person career day, modify the event so that it can be virtual. Use Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or Zooms to host your career day speakers via video chat. You might be able to get more students to see each presentation as the feedback might be able to be broadcast into multiple classrooms at once depending on the tech setup. A virtual career day can happen – you just need to think outside the box.
Career Day Presenter Sample Questions
Ask the presenters to align their presentations to the sample questions you provide to ensure the presentation is focused and relevant to your students.
- What is your job title?
- What are the duties and responsibilities of your job?
- How many hours per day or week do you work? Do you work shifts?
- Can you tell me about your background and how you got into this field?
- What do you like the most/least about your work?
- What education or training is needed for this occupation?
- What personal characteristics are required for someone to be successful in this job?
- Is there a steady demand for workers in this field? How much job security is there?
- What should people do to get started in this career? (i.e. experience, training, education)
- How might this job change in the future?
Career education is very important. Don’t stop the education once career day is over.
Help your students think purposely about their futures with this Career Exploration and Research Project. Students will get excited about career research by taking an online career quiz, then brainstorming possible career choices.
Then they will follow a guided assignment process – brainstorming, research, career poster creation, and oral presentation with scheduled check-ins throughout the process to ensure project completion.
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