“Back to school” time always feels like the start of a fresh year to me. Even in the years I was working in public sector, and the only connection for me was perusing and picking up some new supplies! Who doesn’t love new pens and a fresh notebook or journal or even a planner that starts fresh in July or August?
I began a love of education (& office supplies) from a very early age. I had a classroom and a bank in my bedroom, thank you to teachers who would give me extra mimeograph copies and my Dad who brought home checks and deposit slips from the bank. I passed out papers, my imaginary class would do their work and I graded them. I also really wanted to stay at Kindergarten when my brother went and I was only 3. Thankfully, I had my own classroom to keep me busy until I really, finally, went to school.
I grew up riding horses and participated in 4-H from when I was 9 years old through High School and also was a member of FFA in High School, serving as a Chapter Officer. My participation in 4-H, FFA and Ag classes in High School contributed significantly to who I am today. I learned about leadership, teamwork, responsibility, commitment, written and oral communication, reporting and keeping up with data. Skills that today are commonly referred to as “employability skills”.
Thank you to my Kindergarten teacher, there was always a place in me that wanted to be in education. Though after I started working in “Corporate America” I put education to the back of my mind until my 2nd layoff; and it was finally time to go back and get my teaching certificate. After an adult “gap year” of traveling work, I took a teaching job that was a dream. Starting a business program in a brand new school in a high performing large district in Texas.
My first year of teaching my life came full circle using all the years of public sector experience I had in my classroom. Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses shaped me into who I was and there I was teaching 5 CTE courses, where I saw students build the same skills I had in those classes. Never could I have imagined 20 years after my high school graduation I would be completing my first year of teaching.
Though 20 years later, I’ve certainly grown up and in those years CTE has also really grown up. No longer are these just pick-and-choose elective courses; they are a well designed sequence of courses that lead students to a career path either right out of high school or after post-secondary educational pursuits.
CTE courses expose students to a wide variety of career fields, expand and apply their academic knowledge and develop employability skills necessary no matter what career path they choose.
So whether you’re heading back to school as a teacher, sending a student back to school, or wondering where in the world your future workforce is coming from, CTE should be on your radar. How you can connect with the CTE teachers on your campus, expose students to career fields beginning as early as Kindergarten, talk to your child regularly about their skills and interests or engage in a classroom as an industry partner are just a few topics to explore. Stay tuned.
This is #equippingeducation.