Add Life Skills to Every High School Curriculum

Write In Campaign

I think I shall begin a campaign to create add a Life Skills class to the 12th grade of every high school on America. At this time my plan is to write to every governor and education department in every state. Then I shall write to every senator and to my own congressman. Then I shall write to the federal Department of Education and finally I shall write the president of the United States. I will write the letters in this order because I believe that if possible, education reform should always proceed from the states and only if the states refuse should other contingencies be evaluated.

What’s in the Box?

Each of us would put different things in a Life Skills class. For some of us it would look more like a home economics course. For others it might look like a general household repairs class. And still others might want to make such a class a forum for cultural exploration. I would say to each of these: Write your own letters! I will talk about what I would want in a life skills class.

It’s the Jobs Stupid!

Supposedly, when Bill Clinton was running for president, they put up in all the state campaign headquarters a single slogan: It’s the Economy Stupid! While I don’t disagree with economy as a point of emphasis, economics is not the most urgent piece of knowledge that I think young people lack. What’s missing in the lives of young people as far as I can see is: A Job. Many of them don’t have jobs. Others have part time jobs. Still others have jobs that don’t pay very well.

I want to fix the job situation in the lives of young people in the same way that I fix it in my own life. On the Internet! Is there anything the Internet can’t do?

Preparation

So in my Life Skills class the main emphasis will be how to get a job online. A strategy for getting a job online that has been successful for me involves the use of job search engines. So part of my life skills course would be for students to search for and find 10 job search engines that focus on an area of interest for them. There are for instance: Job search engines for IT people, job search engines for government jobs, job search engines for jobs overseas and many other kinds.

The next thing I would want each student to do is to find the most popular jobs in his town, region and state.

Then I would want the student to create a resume tailored to get that job. He can put any work, intern or voluntary experience he has on the resume. If he does not have any of these kinds of experience the instructor needs to emphasize that any senior with a light course load should take advantage of the extra time to do some volunteering, or get an intern position, or to get a part time job so that both an employer and a college will see him as a well rounded individual who knows how to show up on time and accomplish a task.

Then the students need to apply for 10 jobs. The letter grade of “A” can only be received by those who get some kind of job, internship or who successfully apply for and get into the military. With the exception of the military commitment, the student does not need to take the job if he is going away to college for instance. He just needs to prove that he has developed the skills to apply for and get a job.

Cyber Hunter

Some might emphasize that a high school student is likely to have no useful skills or job experience. This observation is exactly why we need an actual experienced instructor teaching the life skills course and not just a seat warmer. An experienced user of job search engines knows the magic words that a person with little or no skill can use to get a job. The magic words are:

1) “No experience necessary”

2) “No experience required”

3) “No experienced needed”

4) Trainee

5) “Job training”

6) “Will train”

7) “Entry level”

8) "Recent high school"

9) "Willing to learn"

10) Inexperienced

Any words or phrases synonymous with these can also work.

Tips and Tricks

The instructor also needs to teach the students how to dress and act during a job interview. And to give little tips like: It is wise to visit the company website and to actually know what they do or produce before showing up for the job interview. If you do enough job interviews sooner or later you will get “that guy” who asks: Do you know what we do here?

The instructor should make certain that all the students have at least rudimentary knowledge of Microsoft Office software such as Word and Excel since they may be asked if they know something about them and MS Word can be helpful when creating a resume.

The instructor should also advise students on some classes they should take at the local community college to improve their job skills and make more money. Classes like typing, logic, computer programming, database programming and administration as well as system administration. For our lifetimes, there will probably always be IT jobs so students need to get some IT skills as soon as they can.

The instructor might need to give a little push to students who are having a hard time finding jobs or finding which jobs are the most popular. Tell them straight out that sales and management work exist in most economies all over the planet. You can almost always get a job in one of those two areas. If there are no such jobs where you live, you may need to move to find a job. Also, when using any kind of search engine it is sometimes helpful to use variants of key words such as sale, sales, salesmen, and manage, manager, management, boss, supervisor, etc

Another little push the instructor might need to give are the names of some of the more popular job search engines: Indeed, Simplyhired, Juju, Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, USAJobs.gov, LinkUp, CoolWorks, Snagajob, and Flexjobs.

Other Skills

If there is time or if the life skills class can be made into a two class affair there are other basic life skills to be taught:

1) Basic supply and demand economics

2) How to balance a checkbook

3) How to rent an apartment

4) How to buy a product or service (Compare three vendors on price, quality and service…etc)

5) Basic cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing.

6) Basic home and car maintenance

7) How to buy a house and insurance

8) How to get free training online and at the library

9) How and where to get free food

I will leave that How to Survive a Walking Dead Zombie Apocalypse information for the graduate level course!

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Comments 24 comments

florypaula profile image

florypaula 17 months ago

I like your idea of helping them to get a job online. I would make a life skills class about how to write a good resume as you would be surprised how many people have no idea what to write in one.

As for all your other ideas I applaud them. Well thought.

Have a nice day :)


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Florypaula. I am pleased that you found my ideas to be of some worth.

Have a blessed day!


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 17 months ago from Sunny Florida

I have to agree with you. I think it needs to be a required class. So many of these kids are unprepared for real life.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by KoffeeKlatch Gals. I am glad we agree on this. Have yourself a blessed day.


FlourishAnyway 17 months ago

I have a list of things to teach my 15 year old and you've mirror a lot of it, added other things, We must all know how to take care of ourselves on the world,


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by FlourishAnyway. I think a number of us agree that school does not necessarily teach the young everything we think they should know.

Have a blessed day!


lollyj lm profile image

lollyj lm 17 months ago from Washington KS

Every young person should know how to live in the real world before they graduate high school. I learned how cook, clean, do laundry, write checks but was totally unprepared for the different people and lifestyles the real world held. Well done!!


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 17 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

I like your ideas, poetryman. In the part of Canada where I live, high school students do take courses which teach them many of the skills that you list. They don't learn about everything that you describe, though. Learning life skills is definitely very important.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Laurel. Sometimes what I hear and see about high school students or just young people in general getting out of school reminds me of a guy getting out of prison being dumped a street corner with no visible means of support and an entire world which is not anxious to hire him.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago Author

Alicia it sounds like you are ahead of the curve in Canada. Maybe I am listening to the wrong people here but I keep hearing about young people who say they can't find a job.

Thanks for dropping by and have a blessed day.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 17 months ago from North Texas

Agree that how to get a job and few other suggestions you made would be good things for high schoolers to learn -- and don't wait until their senior year.

All IT jobs have been going to India and China for over 10 years, so get a degree in that and you'll be driving a truck -- if they haven't already imported somebody from Mexico to do that too.

While I think these are good ideas I'm wondering if parents have any purpose if they aren't teaching basic life skills. It seems to me that teachers are having a hard time trying to do all the things expected of them now, and not doing so well at it overall. 26% of high school graduates can't read at a 12th grade level. How is giving teachers still more responsibilities going to help? Isn't it time for parent's to take back some of their responsibilities?

Great subject, and you have some very good ideas. Voted up and useful.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago Author

Thanks dropping by Au fait. In some ways I don't care who teaches the younglings how to get a job as long as someone does. One of my more peculiar political fantasies involves a politician who actually goes around to the poorest sections of America and successfully teaches impoverished young men and women how to get a job on the spot. He wins the white house by a landslide whereupon he becomes the worst president in history because being a good teacher is very different from being a good president.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 17 months ago from Houston, Texas

Computer skills are definitely necessary in this day and age but so are the other ones you mentioned like cooking, cleaning, balancing a checkbook and more. Real life is out there and those who are better able to take care of themselves will undoubtedly do well in other areas...or at least have a leg up compared to others. Doing some volunteer work or having a part time job is also very valuable. Excellent advice! Up votes and sharing.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 17 months ago Author

Peggy you are definitely right in what you say. It may be that a large part of the curriculum needs to be rebalanced and that the entire senior year needs to be given over to live skills and college preparation.

Have a blessed day and thank for the thumbs up.


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 16 months ago from Northern California, USA

In a perfect world, people would read your article and incorporate all of your tips. Even if they only tried one tip, things would be better for all. Excellent hub. I enjoyed reading it.


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Thank you Marlene. I appreciate your kind and helpful remarks.

Have a blessed day!


purl3agony profile image

purl3agony 16 months ago from USA

I agree completely! It's been a while, but I received no job search or interviewing training when I was in high school. The other side of this training program, of course, would be to work with local employers to see the value in hiring high school students with little or no experience and help these employers become a type of mentor to the students to help them develop a career path in their chosen employment opportunity (which hopefully would include an advanced degree). And I agree with your list of other life skills to teach, though I would suggest adding "mending clothes" to the washing and ironing task list. Great hub!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 16 months ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Donna. I wonder if things like sewing and knitting are lost arts amongst the younger generation. Unless someone creates a plug and play program to teach sewing and knitting by direct brain stimulation they may hot have the patience for it.

Have a blessed day!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 15 months ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I certainly agree with everything you say here. Both my daughter and her husband have great jobs on the Internet and rarely have to go into an office!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 15 months ago Author

Rebecca they did promise us all that we could work from home. But still, so few get to do it--relatively speaking. If they ever get serious about saving energy and reducing pollution that's one easy way to do it!

Have a blessed day!


Katie Wirth profile image

Katie Wirth 15 months ago from Western Wisconsin

Thank you for this hub! As a member of the younger generation (mid twenties), I agree with many of your ideas. My husband and I were lucky enough to have good parents who taught us how to maintain our home and vehicles, balance a checkbook, find (and keep) a job, etc. As Au Fait mentioned, it would be ideal if parents taught this to their children. Unfortunately many parents are not capable or do not care enough to do so. Not only would having schools teach these skills give a leg up to underprivileged adolescents, but it would also help to reduce the welfare burden on the country as it would (hopefully) produce many more productive members of society. In today's day and age, it is difficult to draw a line between where school learning should end and home learning should begin. I feel that this is tragic, but it is a fact.

I also agree with purl3agony that it would be ideal to partner with local businesses for the class. Many "high skill" businesses are very interested in partnering with high schools to "grow their own" employees. Meaning that they will sponsor a student's college tuition in exchange for a promise to work for the company after graduation. Many of these companies are looking for students as early as sophomore year (if labor laws allow) to intern through Christmas and Summer breaks, giving the student a huge leg up on the competition before even entering college.

Again, thank you for the article. This has given me much food for thought!


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 15 months ago Author

You make a lot of good points Katie. Welcome to Hubpages.

Who knows, one day, when folks institute that license to parent and the attendant parenting classes they threaten to establish every time they see an instance of horrible parenting, maybe the parents will be taught how to look for a job and other skills.

Have a blessed day!


sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 14 months ago

a welcoming hub


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 14 months ago Author

Welcome Sujaya Venkatesh. Have a blessed day.

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