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do we have the right expectation?

I can have a grade A in a school setting and still be a failure in my professional life

How do we address the fact that sometime school expectations do not always reflect a success in real professional life expectation?

Hi Laurent,
Good point and great question. How I address this issue is to talk about the professional responsibilities of the career area. Then I have graduates come in and talk directly about what it takes to be successful in the field. These "chats" really open the eyes of the students because these graduates tell it like it is and much of the telling involves talking about the social and ethical aspects of career success.

In addition to the content of our courses, it is important to teach the "soft skills" that are necessary for success in the professional world. All of us have expectations for our students including being on time, working successfully with others, asking appropriate questions, etc. that will help our students to understand what will be expected of them in their fields. The process of school incorporates so much more than just the specific content of a particular course.

Hi Kelly,
Great point! Data tells us that 90% of jobs are lost due to the lack of "soft skills" in the work place and based upon personal experience I am sure that is correct. Effective communication skills and the ability to get along with others will help a person's career to move forward much quicker. Though, this is often a hard sell to students. They miss the connection between how they dress, talk and act and how successful they are going to be in the workplace.

I try to articulate that the professional world and the academic world are very different worlds. In the academic world, we try as much as possible to level the playing field for all students so that each may succeed; we try to be completely removed from prejudice or any kind of bias; we try to give second chances when there are reasonable excuses; we try to bend over backwards to help create success rather than failures for our students.
In the real world, people may not be fair, in many cases who you are and your connections may be much more important than what you know or your ability to complete the job successfully; in the real world, prejudices or bias may be used in real terms to limit or create roadblocks to success; in the real world, second chances sometimes are never given; and bending over backwards is not a concept that many are willing to implement. The academic world in most cases is an ideal environment, the real world, not so much. When students are confronted with this contrast, if they are new to the real business world, it can be a jolt and difficult to deal with.

Hi B.A.,
It is critical that students see the change that occurs from school to the real world just as you mention. Your strategy is a good one to help students to see the relevancy and application of what they are learning. In addition, your method helps them to learn how to cope with the challenges that will come in the real world setting.

I think the academic world/real world difference can also be minimized if you reiterate to students -- even if you don't need to know this for the job you want right now, you may need to know it for some job you try to attain in the future.

Hi Emily,
This is a good point to keep reinforcing to students. Their education is intended to help them throughout their careers not just for a moment in time. It they can see the big picture they will start to understand the value of what they are learning in their different courses.

I really like your Idea Dr Gary Meers about bringing in Alumni that are in the buisness and have been through the school. That would bring it home to the student.

this can be very difficult in the culinary arts field. I can not teach my students how to be fast but do have to constly inficise the need to do thing faster in the real world

I always try to relate my own work expierence (since I am teaching subjects I use on a regular basis in my job), which sometimes differs from the textual conceptualization, so that syudents can get a feel of current knowledge application.

I often hear the expression "Those that can, do, those that can't, teach." This seems unfair to say about teachers because not only do the need to be experts in the subject matter but also know how to develope students. I know of people who were excellent in school and found themselves to be failures in a professional lives. The funny thing is they later became teachers.

I think we should encourage them, while in school, to do a "stage" in the professional field in which they are studying. Anyone will let you work for free for one shift, why not go get your feet wet to see if the demands of the industry are on par with what you are learning in class?

I agree. I always try to make my students stay on top of their life goals as well as the content being taught in the classroom so they are able to utilize it.

What I like to tell my students is that school (especially a trade school) is set up for you to succeed. The "professional" world is out there to see you fail. Therefore, while attending school get a job relevant to what you are going to school. In that way the student can then apply what they have learned at school, in the "real world."

Hi Christopher,
Way to go in getting their attention. This should help them to see that they need to work hard to prepare themselves for their careers because they are going to have to "prove" themselves over and over in the work world.

The Question is whether the class material is relevant to their professional life.

First of all never say your a failure . Some students I feel are miss led on what we teach and what I mean is some students give all there time on studying book work and thats good but students really donot know really how to study. They read books and answer questions , What they need to do is understand what they study and how it works instead of just studying for a test. As instructors we need to highly explain why and how to prep students not just answer questions. If students understand how and why test taking will be so much easier for them.

The use of alumni is probalby the most effective tool to put everything into perspective for a class. Not only showing them the potential for success, but to also let them know that without the knowledge they are at school to learn, the chances of success decrease.

I agree, I feel as though some of my students are very good at memorization skills and they only retain the information until the test is over

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