In addition to that, it is also a way to bring fun and variety to the school. In this article, I will be sharing how to organize a career day as a school guidance counselor.
If you aren’t even sure whether career day is the best program to organize, read this article first:
How to Organise Career Day in Schools
1. State objectives and staff planning
This step of stating objectives is usually overlooked by many schools because what’s the point? Let’s just do what we want to do. But schools that take the time to draft objectives for their career day usually have a richer program.
Do you want it to be focused more on career guidance or do you simply want some variety? Do you want to use it as an avenue to promote your school? Do you want it as a platform to get parents to come around? Do you want ALL?
You can see that there are different angles you can take and each of these angles will have a little bit of a different approach to the activities you will do.
That’s the need for planning with the school administrators and staff. Ideally, it is your responsibility as the school guidance counselor. For this article, I will focus more on using it as a career guidance program but still add little tips on the remaining angles.
2. Determine the careers to be displayed
It is important to know beforehand the careers students will be displaying so that the day will be more structured and pre-planned rather than flowing with whatever comes.
The way it should be is that every student is supposed to dress like what they want to become. But it is not uncommon to have a situation where everyone (most, actually) is saying, “I want to be a doctor.”
In such cases, you will need to come in and assign some careers to some students. Otherwise, the purpose of the career day will be defeated (students won’t get to see new career options).
But it doesn’t have to be everyone you will choose for. We know that not every student will speak on that day due to time constraints.
So for the professions you want to present, let’s say 10 professions, you pick students that must dress according to these professions then others will do whatever they want.
But still try to see that they are interested or excited about what you choose for them. (You can show them pictures). Many schools usually display police/soldiers, doctors/nurses, teachers, firefighters, lawyers, athletes, musicians, scientists, pilots, astronauts, chefs, journalists, etc.
Check out some outfits they can put in here:
3. Draft and rehearse presentations
Now each of those students representing the 10 professions is to give short presentations about the profession.
What work do they do? What is their significance to society? How can one become it? What sacrifices do they make? Where can they be found? and so on.
You might need to research these things and give them to them or ask them to research by themselves if they are more grown-up.
After the items to be presented and ready the students should rehearse them over and over again until they can say them by heart and even act like the profession.
You wouldn’t go wrong if you have more than one student for each profession though, so they can help themselves.
Pro Tip: To make the day more fun, students can act in a short playlet where several professions are seen at work. Eg an athlete has an injury and the nurse comes to help. But his career is about to end so a lawyer comes to settle his contract with the team. Then a journalist shares the news and so on.
4. Plan the career talk(s) for the day
Aside from the presentation done by the student, it is also great to have an adult talk. It could be the school counselor, any member of the school guidance committee, the principal, or external personnel.
Since our focus this time is on career guidance that will be the central theme of the talk— how students can choose the careers best for them. Also, if parents are around the talk can cover how parents can be of help.
It can also discourage parents from forcing children into careers they don’t want. You can also use this platform to promote your school and address other issues you will like parents to do better (e.g school fees. lol)
5. Send invitation letters to parents
If you want parents to come for your career day, you need to send an invitation to them through their wards. But even if parents aren’t coming, you still need to inform them so they can get the costumes for their wards.
But remember that one letter is not enough. People are busy. So you must continue to remind them and ask their children to “disturb” them. Sending a text isn’t too much or if you have a PTA WhatsApp platform, that will be great as well.
If you also need financial assistance from parents, sending the letters should fall under this step too.
6. Choose and arrange the venue
This is a step everyone should know but it’s still important to state it. The venue should be prepared before the day. If there will be a high table and who will sit there should also be planned.
Where parents and students should sit should also be marked out.
Depending on the size of your school, you might need some public address system and music. Make sure you don’t break the bank, however.
You don’t have to overspend to get the best— just be smart with your planning.
7. Plan refreshments
It is not bad to have some light refreshments for parents and students on your career day. It’s a day of fun and it doesn’t happen every day. But again, don’t try to impress. You still have to keep the school running after the career day.
8. Draft the program
Now that you have settled everything that will be done on that day, it is time to draft the order of the program (and choose the MC).
Here’s a sample program you can adopt or adapt to suit your situation
|1||Opening prayer||3 minutes||10:00 am – 10:03 am|
|2||National & School anthem or Praise||10 minutes|
|3||Welcoming speech||10 minutes|
|4||Presentation I (doctor, lawyer, teacher)||15 minutes|
|5||Presentation II (firefighter, musician, astronaut)||15 minutes|
|6||Short playlet||10 minutes|
|7||Presentation III (chef, artist, police)||15 minutes|
|8||Career talk||20 minutes|
|9||Address to Parents||10 minutes|
This, of course, is just a brief guide to spark your creativity on how a school career day can look. You should, however, note that depending on the students you have and the locality you are in, you might need to adjust to something they can relate to or will appreciate more. Tell me in the comment if there are any tips I missed.
Olusegun Iyejare is a career coach and certified counselor. He helps individuals discover and maximize their potential to live satisfying lives regardless of obvious limitations holding them back.