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Let's Teach Life Skills in High School
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?
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.
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”
5) “Job training”
6) “Will train”
7) “Entry level”
8) "Recent high school"
9) "Willing to learn"
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.
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!