• Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed. • IDRA Newsletter • October 2018 •
I’ve been conducting meetings and workshops for families in community organizations for quite a while. From “Your Children Are College Material” to “Credit Requirements Reviewed by a College Registrar,” we’ve looked at project-based learning with environmental justice activities that some of their children are conducting, to the roles and responsibilities of school board members.
Then, through our Texas Education CAFE Network work, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, I started getting requests to lead sessions about the different professions that are available to youths who are attending college for the first time. Students seemed to only have two or three ideas of what to major in.
I identified a website with just the information I needed, organized in a fashion that could yield some very participatory and discovery activities. The site has very interesting information, particularly in the section called “Common Jobs for Majors.” The site divides jobs into nine categories or disciplines (which I translated):
- Humanities – Humanidades
- Computer Science and Math – Ciencia De Informática y Matematicas
- Social Science – Ciencias Sociales
- Art and Design – Arte y Diseño
- Engineering – Ingeniería
- Business – Negocios
- Education – Educación
- Communication and Journalism – Comunicaciones y Periodismo
- Physical and Biological Science – Ciencias Fisicas y Biologicas
For instances when participants would not have access to computers on site, I created a packet with information from the website listing each of the nine disciplines, 25 specific jobs within each and the projected annual salary. That’s 225 different job titles! I printed the 225 job titles (bilingual Spanish-English) and cut them into individual slips of paper.
I distributed the job title slips randomly among the participants, two to three per person, and asked them to guess the annual salary for those positions and to write them on the papers. I distributed the packet or used computers and had participants search for their job titles and compare their numbers with those listed.
As a follow-up activity, I invited them to compare salaries across disciplines and do online searches to locate job descriptions and information on what the jobs entail. Some began an inquiry in what kind of courses a college student would have to take to be prepared for a specific job.
Some students were encouraged to create posters and exhibits of the professions and job descriptions they chose, especially those that seemed the most puzzling or foreign.
The families took their packets home and followed up with conversations at home and online searches. Questions were formulated to be asked of teachers and counselors about the various job titles that interested their children.
Families recommended that this information be given to counselors and teachers to distribute to more students and families. That project is still evolving. I’ve developed a lesson plan for using these materials that is available online at the families and communities section of our website. A key element is that participation not be limited to the top achieving students in a school. It should be available to all.
The one clear result of these workshops and the information is that the participating families and students now have a much broader vista of the possibilities for a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree. May we have more opportunities to inform our college-bound children.
[©2018, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the October 2018 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]