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Blog: Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

An Education for Life

By Dr. Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

In light of recent announcements about our provincial Graduation Program, it is perhaps fitting that I share some thoughts about the changes on the horizon for students (Besides, it is another item that I had put on my Top 10 in Education list for 2018). I do not want to rehash all the finer details of our emerging Grad Program, as I think you can go to the Ministry website, and learn more about it. Instead, I would like to briefly address career life education, one of the more noticeable changes to the culminating years of redesigned curriculum.

When it was first announced a few months ago that students would be required to take eight credits of career education, a few of us gasped and were concerned about how this would fit into a grad program that already did not have enough flexibility for students to access some of the various opportunities available to them. Some of us also wondered if Career Life Education and Careers Life Connections would become the new Planning 10, a course that many students dread, and that schools struggled to make meaningful and engaging. I will preface my comments going forward with an admission that I am not trained in the field of career education. However, it was clear to me that many of us were taking a narrow view of the term career (in part because we were not educated in that discipline, at least not formally).

If we were formally trained in this area, we perhaps would have more quickly recognized that everything we do is career education. Career professionals understand that careers refers to the constellation of life roles you play over the course of your life, or your life story. That is, your career is not just a job, occupation or profession. It involves deciding among possible and preferred futures, and answering the questions: “Who do I want to be in the world?”, “What kind of lifestyle am I seeking?” and “How can I make an impact?” Career literacy thus refers to a progressively acquired set of skills, knowledge and attitudes that are related to the acquisition, understanding and application of information needed to manage one’s own life. In essence, everything we do in our education system is intricately connected to career development. All teachers are career educators because we all play a role in helping students understand who they are, where they are going, and how they will get there.  

At a recent workshop I attended on the subject, the presenter said that our career education must fulfill some critical goals which culminate in having students making the following affirmations:

  • I have hope
  • I have options
  • I have a direction
  • I have a plan
  • I have confidence

If you have kids of your own, I think you might agree that if your child could confidently check all the above boxes that you would be confident as a parent that they were ready to begin to find their place in the world. Few other things would matter.

Going back to the Grad Program, one could argue that the careers are perhaps the most important “courses” that our students take in grades ten to twelve years. At a minimum, it would suggest that the manner in which our schools organize and deliver these courses will be critical to helping students find and navigate their various life paths as they leave our K-12 system.

By Dr. Kevin Godden
Dr. Kevin Godden
Dr. Kevin Godden

By Dr. Kevin Godden, Superintendent of Schools

Kevin has been the Superintendent of Schools for the Abbotsford School District since July 2011, overseeing some 19,000 students and 2,500 employees. Kevin is committed to student success in all forms and envisions a school district that can nimbly respond to the ever changing needs and interests of its students.