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Job shadows important in education

Students at Charles Henderson Middle School got the chance to get out of the classroom and into the workplace on Thursday as part of the school’s annual “job shadow day.”

It’s also important that the community and the schools continue to work together to make sure that these programs are as effective as possible.

Last week, two high school students took part in a job shadowing day right here at The Messenger.

While it was great to have the students in the office and out in the field as they got to see some of what it takes to put together a daily newspaper, more could have been done to make the day an even better success.

From the workplace side of things, businesses and organizations need to make sure that they are prepared to give these students a day that truly takes them through all of the processes necessary to make the business successful.

As a newspaper, our work is always changing and we have to make sure the students don’t get short-changed by our busy evolving schedules.

Communication between the schools and the participating businesses is really the key, because students can’t necessarily be plugged in at a business on any regular work day.

Even though the point of the program is to shadow the real jobs of our community, middle school and high school students still need to have a structured day in place.

In fluid workplaces like the one we have, it can be tough to give students a full picture of the work we do without some real planning.

It’s also important to provide more interactive shadowing for students, as observing probably gets boring for them and may not be the best way for them to really learn.

Asking a few simple questions about a student’s experience isn’t enough to really get them engaged in what’s going on in the workplace, and many students learn the most by doing instead of simply watching.

It’s also simply more engaging to be involved in the process than it is to observe it.

Obviously, students can’t do all of the things that law enforcement officers do or help customers at many places of business, but if students could have some exercises that emulate real business processes, it would do much more to engage them and teach them.

Many children in middle school simply aren’t focused on the workforce yet and need more involvement to get them interested.

There’s no doubt that the schools in Pike County are on the right track, but we have to work together to make sure our students get the best education and training we can give them.

They are our future.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at The Messenger. Email him at jacob.holmes@troymessenger.com