Thursday, April 28th is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. I’ll never forget the excitement of “skipping school” on this day to follow my dad into his office for a fun lunch at McDonalds. Then, later on, when he worked at home, convincing my mom I needed to “stay home” to watch him work, even though I basically saw what he did every day anyway. For me, the fun of this day was getting to skip school when many of my classmates were going. There really wasn’t any learning occurring, aside from coloring and listening to classical music in my Dad’s office. But, the concept behind taking a day to teach children about different careers has the potential to be motivational for all students in your classroom, whether or not they have the opportunity to shadow an adult’s job or career. Here are some teaching ideas to create a Career Day that will include all students and introduce them to a variety of professions.
Here are a few teaching ideas for hosting a Career Day in your classroom:
1. Invite a few volunteers to share about their career.
This is a great opportunity to invite parent volunteers to share about their career. You may even find some fascinating careers that students might not otherwise be exposed to. I’ll never forget when my sister, who is a neurologist, came into my 4th grade classroom. She didn’t even plan on talking to my students about her career, but a read-aloud exploded into a full-on discussion about her job and experiences as a doctor and neurologist. Even the kids in my class who were usually the hardest to engage were fascinated.
Tip: Unlike my impromptu Career Day interview, make sure this is planned out. Select a set number of volunteers. Have a set schedule and time limit and give them a suggested format for what to share or bring. If you don’t want to invite parents, you can invite community members.
2. Have students conduct a Career Day Interview.
This is an at-home project where students can interview any family member, friend, or community member. They fill out an interview sheet and share with their class. Students can also imagine themselves in their dream career. Have students create posters that show what they will look like and fill in information about their career. You can access this freebie in your email by entering your information below.
3. Take students on a virtual Career Day or a virtual field trip with a career-related topic.
Take students on a trip to explore a virtual career. Students can learn about a variety of careers from architect or astronaut to botanist or occupational therapist.
My Virtual Career Day resources work best for 5th-8th grade; however, they can be completed as a class with elementary grades.
Virtual field trips tend to focus on a specific topic as opposed to a career, but you can certainly use one as a basis to explore careers that involve the topic. For example, my Virtual Field Trip to the Animal Clinic is great for 2nd-5th grade.
I have over 100 Virtual Field Trips available with trips specifically designed for primary, elementary, and middle grades.
Why is it important to bring Career Day into the classroom?
As I stated above, not every student will have the opportunity to shadow an adult in a work setting (besides you, of course). Integrating an activity that explores different careers can be motivational for all students in your classroom. Many kids have no idea what adults do at work. Integrating a Career Day activity gives them the opportunity to learn what adults do and how various careers can have an impact on the world.
I hope these ideas help you bring a Career Day activity into your classroom and that your students love learning about different careers.