Job Shadow may be replaced with a schoolwide careerfair to reach out to more students

Jacqueline Barr

A lack of participation in the Job Shadow could lead to its removal

262 students participated in the Job Shadow on Ground Hog Day: a significant sum but planners hoped for more.

The PTA Job Shadow Committee coordinates with Career and College Liaison Miriam Taba to plan the Job Shadow. In lieu of the shadow, they are considering replacing it with a career fair that would entail presenters speaking about their careers and the necessary education to follow their specific career path. The goal would be to engage a larger portion of the student body.

A career fair will have less impact because when a speaker visits a school, it removes them from their home environment and no matter how much they describe their job, it will never be quite the same as going and seeing first hand what a given occupation is really like. In essence, the Job Shadow is more personal.

Having a career fair limits the variety of careers that are explored. Students will ultimately end up attending presentations that they do not necessarily have interest in.

For example, if a student is interested in architecture, they can shadow an architecture firm and learn about this specific job and ask questions that are pertinent to them. However, with a career fair, there may not even be a presenter who is an architect rendering the career fair useless for the student.

Albeit, having to shadow a specific job can also be a limiting factor but choosing a business that  interests you only a little is much better that listening to countless presentations that students are not interested in at all.

When a the Job Shadow host talks to their specific student the conversation and personal dynamic that ensues has a very different feel than that of a presenter that gives a more general and mass produced presentation.                         
The Job Shadow Committee works hard to engage at least 40 percent of the student body in their program but this year, they did not reach their goal. Even with a major overhaul of publicity, there was still a lack in participation and empty spots on the day of the Job Shadow.

One of the problems lies in the fact most participants must miss the majority of the school day to attend. Many students are afraid to miss school because of the quantity of make-up work and the fact that concepts taught in class are not explained as well once returning. The grades hype has made it so that students never want to miss school for anything on the off chance that something important will be skipped. Admittedly, there are some teachers at our school who are not sympathetic to those who miss class. But, missing a days of class will pay off in the long run. Worrying over one day is not only excessive, but also ridiculous.

Canceling the job shadow would negatively impact the student body by removing a resource that is highly valued in learning about the real world. You can find a speaker anywhere:  conferences, clubs, etc., but what other program can offer such a wonderful and unique experience of hands-on learning in the field?