Offered courses influence future career choices

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By: Lily Zhao <lzhao@hilite.org>

Senior Adrienne Hall’s Life Skills class—a class where she works with special education students—is where she said she feels the most at home. Teaching elementary and special education students has been her dream ever since she started going here, but by taking life skills, peer tutoring and exploratory teaching, it really cemented her career choice in the future, she said.

“(Teaching students) is really rewarding,” Hall said. “I’m really glad that (this school) is big enough to offer so many courses that can influence so many students.”

According to counselor Kristina Hartman, all courses at this school can influence a student’s future career choice, and the special education department’s courses are just one example. Hartman said that classes here often interest students because they go into such depth and are taught by trained professionals who have a passion for their jobs, in turn influencing their students. She also said that students should know which courses to take, but at the same time should experiment around to see what they really want to do when they’re older.

“Taking classes in interest areas is a good idea, to see if this is something you would like to pursue in the future,” Hartman said. “On the flip side of this, though, taking a class in area you have not been exposed to before could open your eyes to something you may have never thought you would enjoy.”

For Hall, working with children is lots of work, but it is worth it, she said. Even though she said she knew that she wanted to work with special education children, by taking peer tutoring and exploratory teaching, it really pointed her in the direction of getting a double major at Purdue in elementary and special education teaching, something she had not even considered.

“If you are interested in something, definitely take it, so that in the future, you will have a reference of what you want to do,” she said. “By branching out, I really got a great view of what my career path would be.”

Risa Padgett, one of the special services teachers, said that along with the courses that Hall is taking, American Sign Language and Kid’s Corner are two other courses here that offer students a glimpse of potential career options. However, she said, most students who take special services classes just take it because they like working with the students, not because they want to pursue that particular career.

“Some students may want to pursue special education and find that they really enjoy it after being in our classrooms and some may find that it may not be the career for them through this opportunity,” Padgett said. “Others may have no intention in pursuing special education, but they find it to be a passion and want to pursue it.”

That’s the case for most students, Hartman said, because by experimenting, most students will end up enjoying a class that they never thought they’d like that much before. Finding a class that one is good in is the key and to stick with it will definitely help a student’s college and career opportunities later on. By doing so, Hall said she has found her niche.

“Your high school career is too short, so take as many courses that you can that you are interested in,” Hall said. “That’s what I did and it turned out great.”

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