For a young student, summer employment offers an opportunity to make some money, gain experience, get away from the family circle, and discover other environments; first experiences are usually very formative. Summer work for students also allows regular employees to take a vacation without having to close the business or helps them cope with summer rush. The training period is usually fairly short and abrupt: "You start tomorrow, report at 7:30" and probation will be based on performance; the apprentice is allowed few mistakes, but if he or she makes the grade, it will be an opportunity for many discoveries and sometimes even real friendships.
The school world establishes a rather tenuous relationship with the world of work during the course of study, leaving it to governments to regulate as needed. Yet linking the generalized learning of high school to the more specialized world of employment is an excellent opportunity to provide more individualized learning and better prepare students for what lies ahead.
The uses of language in the restaurant, tourism, or business industries can give a concrete aspect to the English course. Accounting, programming, or warehouse management practices can feed into situational exercises in math or computer science classes. One can also philosophize about the organization of work and rights in a small or large company and about social requirements in general. Geography and local history can be applied in many jobs, from courier to tour guide, not to mention physical training.
There will probably be as many topics as there are student jobs in the class. I learned how to clean windows in my first job. I learned some optimization principles there, basically what separates apprentices from professionals! Even if the teacher doesn't know anything about most of these jobs, now you can find the basics of almost any activity on YouTube or Instagram. The end of classes is approaching, the material is covered, students aren't really listening anymore... what will their summer jobs be? What were your first jobs?
Denys Lamontagne - [email protected]
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