Students shadow community membersPublished 11:00pm Friday, February 1, 2013
One hundred and fifty Charles Henderson Middle School eighth graders participated in the annual Ground Hog Job Shadowing Day on Friday.
In its most traditional sense, job shadowing is a program for students to find out what it’s like to be in a specific profession.
The student shadower follows a professional of their choice and observes him or her during a regular workday.
For the Charles Henderson Middle School eighth graders, the job shadowing experience Friday was much like Punxsutawney Phil poking his nose out to see what lies ahead.
Gina Hastings, CHMS business and technology applications teacher, said that, for some students, the job shadowing experience will reaffirm their career plans. For others, it will turn them down a different path.
“Job shadowing is basically a program for eighth graders that helps prepare them for their future careers,” Hastings said. “The students are involved in the daily carrying out of the job in which they are interested. They have an opportunity to experience what all is involved in the job and they are provided opportunities to ask questions. They get first-hand experience in the character of the job and the responsibilities of the job on a day-to-day basis.”
Hastings said this experience helps the students choose the high education programs and the profession they would like to pursue or just simply experience a particular career opportunity.
For Ariel McKenzie, the job shadowing experience was an opportunity to experience a workplace different from the career path she would like to take.
McKenzie would like to be a teacher but she chose to shadow her mom, Eva Green, at Turner and Hamrick Insurance.
“I do want to be a teacher but I’ve enjoyed being here,” McKenzie said. “I’ve learned a lot.”
What McKenzie learned will benefit her in whatever career path she takes.
“I’ve answered the telephone and put names on folders and just learned about being in an office and working with other people,” she said.
Green said she wanted her daughter to have the opportunity to explore other career options and also to learn more about what she does every day.
“Turner and Hamrick specializes in trucking insurance and Ariel now knows that we provide coverage for the trucking industry,” she said. “She understands more about my job.”
For other students, job shadowing was more about them and what they want to do when they “grow up.”
Ryan Green loves animals and he is considering a career as a veterinarian. But, he now realizes that he has a lot of schooling ahead of him and knows more about the nitty-gritty of the job.
“I was going to eat my lunch back here, where the animals are, but it smells strong, so I decided to eat lunch out in the lobby,” Green said, with a smile.
Green spent the day at Troy Animal Clinic and had the opportunity to observe Dr. Robert Hawkins at his trade.
“I got to watch him examine some dogs and give shots,” Green said. “I think that I could do that. What I want to do is help animals, like dogs and cats. Small animals.”
Green said that nothing he experienced as a job shadower changed his mind about his career choice.
“Right now, I want to be a veterinarian,” he said.
However, after Kentravious Barr’s experience shadowing the firefighters at the Troy Fire Department, he was not so sure that he wants to be a firefighter. He decided the rigorous training is more than he expected.
Barr, Joshua Roberts and Mykel Williams spent the day with Capt. Parker at Fire Station 2 and learned that being a firefighter takes dedication, commitment and the ability to get the boots on and off.
Roberts took a bit of ribbing from the other shadowers and the captain when he couldn’t get his boot off.
“Everything’s hard around here,” he said.
The students learned about the different pieces of equipment and the use for each. They found that firefighters have to be in good physical condition because even climbing the ladder onto the truck takes effort.
Williams said he’s still considering a career as a firefighter. Roberts, laughingly, said he might rather play in the NBA and Barr said, “no way.”
And, that’s what job shadowing is all about, Hastings said.
“The students get to experience what the job is like so they have a better idea as to whether that’s the kind of job they would like to have,” she said. “Some students now know that they are on the right career path and others will look in a different direction.”
Either way, Hastings said, job shadowing has served its purpose.
The CHMS students, who participated in the job shadowing experience, ventured into almost every workplace in Troy and then beyond. They will share their experiences with the classmates through PowerPoint presentations.
“We had activities leading into the job shadowing experiences including the Kuder Career Interest Inventory, which indicates skills and preferences,” Hastings said. “The students then choose from a list of 16 different careers and we encourage them to take one of the top three.”
Following the job shadowing experiences the students will prepare and present PowerPoint slides showing what they learned and present them to the class.
Hastings expressed appreciation to the many businesses and industries that allow students to spend a day learning about what they do, the jobs they provide and their role their business plays in the community.