School: Figtree High School [NSW, Public School]
Educator: Tanya Allen (Careers Advisor)
Context: Year 10, with 7 classes across a 2-week cycle comprising 45 min sessions per lesson. A large proportion of school-based training programs and either vocational training or direct employment post-school.
“It’s so simple… with Ponder I can just ‘grab and go’ with what I need”
Careers Advisor, Tanya Allen is incredibly passionate about the role she plays at school – helping her students from Figtree High School in the Illawarra Region of NSW to discover a career path they’ll enjoy. In her school community, Tanya explains that it’s all too common for students to continue on the same career paths as their parents; but when they are exposed to a wider range of ideas and opportunities, they’re far more likely to ‘break out of the mold’ and choose a career that suits them.
Tanya uses Ponder as her ‘go-to’ resource for career education lesson content for her Year 10 students at Figtree, as it’s this age group at her school that are actively making career decisions – either leaving school at the end of Year 10 for direct employment or vocational training, or staying on to complete their senior schooling (requiring great subject choices as a result).
“It’s got really simple, succinct, user-friendly information in it”
In her busy role at school, she finds that having Ponder access means that she doesn’t have to ‘think too much’ when it comes to choosing content to deliver. Many educators, especially in the careers space, are often faced with putting together lesson materials from disjointed sources or dealing with structures that don’t holistically cover everything students need to learn.
With Ponder, she opens it up when needed, chooses lesson materials to suit the setting/topic, and then gets on with teaching. Tanya said that she often combines Ponder lesson content with other materials she has, giving her more impact in her conversations with students. However, she would like to see it rolled out to younger years at Figtree, as she believes (and rightly so) that exposure to career education earlier means that when students do reach her in Year 10, they’re better prepared for the important decisions they need to make.
Like many secondary schools, Figtree High School uses a range of profiling/personality evaluation tools to help students learn more about themselves and how they ‘fit’ into the world of work. After using the Career Cluster quiz and lesson materials with her Year 10 students, she has found that there is a whole new way of having career conversations with her students that they easily understand and can relate to.
“…it’s just part of their ongoing narrative of “oh, I know what an Innovator is, or I know what a Maker is”
She has also found that it’s not only helpful for talking with students about possible career paths, but it’s also good for talking with parents too. Parents can understand that there has often been a “family tree” of certain career paths that have been chosen through generations and that by showing parents how their child might be different from themselves by way of their Career Cluster, that they might approach career conversations differently with their child too.
Tanya explains that this leads to students discovering a wider world of work, and choosing careers that are different from the expected norms, which is what great career education is all about.