As a teacher, part of your job is to get your students thinking about the future. And while some high school students already know what they might like to study after high school, others don’t have that kind of direction.
You can help get your students’ wheels turning by asking the right questions. Here’s a shortlist to weave into class conversations throughout the school year:
What do you do in your free time? For some students, that might include volunteering with children, playing a sport, or playing an instrument. Those activities could help your students identify what types of activities they enjoy, like working as part of a team or mentoring others.
What topics get you excited? Encourage students to contemplate what topics, subjects, and current issues in the world pique their curiosity and make them feel energized. Those areas could be budding passions that later turn into career interests.
What subjects are strengths? Students don’t always see how a subject translates into different career paths, but this is one of the best starting points for students without many ideas.
What adults do you know who have cool-sounding jobs? An aunt who is an attorney or a family friend who owns a business are great resources. Encourage them to ask the adults they know what they do and what they like about it.
What kind of lifestyle are you seeking? Too few students reflect on what is important to them in their life long-term when choosing career paths. It is early, but teens would still be smart to consider things like whether they want to travel or climb the career ladder as they weigh options.
Do you like/dislike the idea of graduate school? Some jobs require advanced degrees, such as an attorney, doctor, or veterinarian. Students don’t need to decide on graduate school now, but it’s good to think ahead.
Where do you see yourself after college? This is the ultimate college admissions interview question, so it’s good for students to ponder it throughout high school. Students might not have the answer figured out now, but pondering the question is worthwhile.
Is a traditional four-year college the right fit? A post-secondary education program such as a vocational school prepares people to work as a technician or in various jobs such as a trade or a craft. If students are looking for more practical skills and a quicker pathway to the workforce, this might be the best choice.
No matter what subject you teach, your students will benefit from a little effort to prepare them for the future. That class time is definitely time well spent!