For a teen just entering the job market, or an adult who desires employment after a long break, the act of obtaining a job can be difficult. The Life Skills class teaches confidence building which sets in motion a desire to obtain a job. Through goal setting the class helps a student prioritize needs. In order to search for and obtain a job, a person must first see himself or herself in a new light. This takes self-investigation.
Annette Wilson teaches this course, which includes life skills important to obtaining a job. Wilson spent the last 20 years as a full-time English teacher and Chair of the English Department for San Bernardino High School in California. She is now retired and is head of an organization called Youth Leadership Skills. “It’s about changing your own vocabulary from ‘I can’t’ to ‘I will,’” said Wilson. This determination helps students gain the self-confidence needed to enter the job market.
The intention of looking deeply at the self is to find a job that is suitable for the individual. This class assists a person to gain a clearer picture of skills already acquired and estimate the abilities needed for the job sector in mind. Self-sufficiency is the ultimate goal of the Life Skills class.
Wilson found during the pandemic that online teaching was different. She needed to engage her students so they would stay focused and fully participate in online classes. “I found myself teaching kids about themselves,” said Wilson. “Self-leadership is about being able to make decisions on your own,” she added. Once self-leadership was learned, “students became leaders in their own families and peer groups,” said Wilson.
The Life Skills class appeals to all age groups (beginning with teens 15+), because the material covered applies to the goal of finding work that is suitable to the individual personality. “Teaching soft skills like self-confidence helps students jump into the job market,” noted Wilson. Self-reflection is reinforced in this class again and again. It is an important first step in understanding how to begin to approach the job market. Many come to the class “not knowing how to lead themselves,” said Wilson. They leave with a better understanding of self-leadership.
The first step in this class is to explore the basics of self and identity by reading a text that sets in motion the act of pondering oneself. The second step in the class is to take visual information and translate it into writing. The challenge set before the student is to fully comprehend visual information, reflect upon it and reach an understanding great enough to interpret it and express it in words.
“Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” is a common tool used to understand the basic needs of survival that includes food, shelter, transportation and more. By examining “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” the student comes to understand their own priorities in life and place them in a proper order. Basic survival is obtainable, once the primary goals of survival are set firmly in mind. This class teaches the student how to gain a better understanding of their own value system and basic needs and how to adjust it to meet the goal of employment.
Wilson’s class takes students on an even deeper journey of self-reflection. Wilson uses a DISC assessment as a personality test for students. In the DISC assessment, students become deeply interested in themselves and learn how to self-analyze. After Wilson gently steps students through the personality test, a resume is developed based on actual findings about personal abilities and resources that exist and simply need to be identified.
The personality test and resume exercise lead into a class exercise on sharpening interview skills. Interview skills are practiced in mock interview sessions with students. These practice interviews make the possibility of an actual interview less scary. In many cases, doing well on an interview eventually leads to job placement.
As a final step before completing the Life Skills class, getting students in the course into a “Growth Mindset” sets the stage for personal achievement. Goal setting as an everyday exercise will change a person’s attitude to one of not just finding a job – but keeping that employment for personal stability. “Once a student understands who they are, it’s easier to understand others,” said Wilson. There are many takeaways to this class besides a complete resume and brushing up on interview skills. Wilson says that people need to realize “they have value in the job market.” The main benefit of this class is a student comes to realize they have knowledge and can support themselves.
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