Learning from K-12 Educators

“Naturally, everyone must find a way to earn a living wage, but the paycheck should not be the only motivation. Employees who are confident in their abilities and somewhat comfortable in their workplace can be highly productive. Please note that my sentence said ‘somewhat comfortable.’ We must become a bit uncomfortable to grow professionally.” 

This is a quote from a K-12 Career Counselor in our latest Continuing Education Class for Facilitating Alabama Career Development: Assessments & Resumes. For the last couple of years, our team has been working with K-12 career developers throughout the state of Alabama, and one big takeaway has been the need for assessment and resume skills that meet students where they are but also challenge them to stretch. As this educator says, “We must become a bit uncomfortable to grow professionally”. How can we support students AND make them a bit uncomfortable…in a good way? 

In our continuing education class, we test some assessments ourselves, and we review others using sample reports. We explore free and paid tools, formal and informal. Which would you guess our K-12 educators prefer to use? Turns out – all of them! 

“I feel that in the interest of time – I only focus on interest and do not include values. The more I read and learn – I think I’m going to pick a few assessments for the students to take and send the results to me for meetings…working to complete a portfolio”

Our educators work with vastly different children with their own wildly different learning abilities and preferences. What works for one may not work for another. What makes one uncomfortable (in a good way) may not be challenging enough for another. Couldn’t the same be said for us grown-ups? Just as educators provide a variety of learning tools for students, HR and Training professionals should and do provide a range of professional learning opportunities that explore hard and soft skills and allow for light to heavy self-evaluation and awareness. 

“The company that provided our training gave us several personality assessments, skills assessments, and work-based values assessments in an effort to help us learn how to ask questions and determine what was important to our students and how to use that information to help them develop their own plans for success, not only in college but in other areas of their life.  To be honest, at first, I was somewhat skeptical of this, but after seeing this method work in how to approach students and co-workers, I am a believer. I have seen it work MANY MANY MANY times with wonderful results.” 

So here’s what we can learn from our K-12 educators: 

  1. Be willing to be uncomfortable 
  2. Try formal and informal assessments 
  3. Engage in a variety of learning experiences 

What steps are you taking to grow personally and professionally, just like our children and teenagers are doing? 

Jillian Miles

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