One of the requirements in the Ontario curriculum is the civics and careers course, where half the semester is devoted to learning about Canadian politics and world issues, and the other for acclimating into “the real world” by creating fake resumes and exploring post-secondary options through career cruising. These courses exist to keep students up to date with current events and help them find a career. However, a survey of 7000 students from OSTA found that 74% of students described the course as unimportant and a waste of their time. As a student who barely has enough time to study for unit tests, write comprehensive essays, and do extracurriculars, I would dare say that that is an important statistic.
This study, as well as my own personal experience, undermines the practicality of doing such work for a teacher. Which then begs the question: how are so many kids expected to find jobs if the only opportunity they have in “the real world” is a fruitless course taught by a mostly lackadaisical teacher? That isn’t to say that all teachers are irresponsible, lazy people who throw together a lesson plan over their salad lunch in the staff room. But it’s hard to find concrete evidence to show kids that careers don’t necessarily have to be 9-5 cubicle jobs that you hate, but something you find enjoyable.
Unless you are willing to give up half your courses in one semester for a co-operative education experience, or have bountiful extracurriculars to fill your resume, finding a job that doesn’t feel like a dead-end can be close to impossible. Most jobs require some kind of background experience in the field. How is anyone expected to earn that experience if they can’t get the job in the first place? Fast-food restaurants like McDonalds and Burger King don’t have as many requirements, but they have terrible pay (even compared to the food). It’s also not a job many people are expected to keep after they graduate. However, sometimes finding something more lucrative can be hard, especially considering the state of America’s economy.
The happy-ending career story is sought after by many students. The dream is to graduate from high school, go to a good university, get a degree, get a job, and then finally retire. But I think it’s clear that this seldom happens. Getting a degree doesn’t necessarily mean getting a job. In fact, culture has changed so much that having a bachelor’s degree is now seen as a requirement just to keep up with other applicants. Should we be preparing for more years of student debt to avoid getting stuck with a job at Bed Bath & Beyond?
The global population is increasing at an almost exponential rate. With baby boomers taking most job opportunities, it’s getting harder and harder to find something worthy as a career choice. And despite the efforts of the Ministry of Education with courses that are out-of-date, I think I’ve got enough on my plate already.