Career Explorations for Our Children

Career Explorations for Our Children 

Throughout life, children aspire to become many different things when they grow up. One child may want to become a sanitation worker and recycle truck driver. Others dream of becoming a fireman, police woman, or teacher. From an early age, we can encourage our children to learn more about different types of careers and jobs by:

  • Taking our children to our jobs afterschool, in the evening, or on weekends
  • Encouraging our children to help us with various aspects of our job (i.e. sort different assignments for teachers, organize the trash and recyclables for the garbage collection and recycle centers, and conduct household fire safety checks)
  • Helping our children learn how to pursue specific career explorations through research, participation in early college courses, and engaging in relevant work experiences

Elementary children typically explore careers by starting small businesses and playing pretend games. Some children like to create lemonade stands to sell baked goods and refreshments. Another child may sell art creations and another may organize garage sales for selling old toys and household items. When children organize small business activities, they learn what it takes to plan for a business venture, how to manage money throughout the process, and how to conduct business with various family members and the public.

As our children enter the middle school years, they can start participating in summer internships that may include:

  • Working in a summer camp for kids, at community service or and church events, and at performing arts events
  • Enrolling in certificate and career exploration programs for preteens offered through parks and recreation programs (i.e. babysitting certification, CPR, cooking and sewing classes, sports classes, and performing arts classes)
  • Participating in youth groups and clubs that explore careers in STEAM types of activities, makers fairs, and STEM competitions

As our children enter their high school years, that can expand their career exploration activities by:

  • Securing paid internships and jobs in their areas of interest
  • Participating in community service events as an intern, youth leader, or paid employee
  • Enrolling in early learning college courses to explore career options and complete undergraduate course requirements for career preparation to accelerate learning and reduce the time and expense required for a bachelor’s degree

We can encourage our children to compete a resume each year that focuses on their immediate interests, experiences, and possible career goals. An appropriate resume for middle school students might include the following information:

Sample Resume Template

My Resume (What is your name?) _____________________________________

Job Title (What do you want to do?) ____________________________________

Qualifications (What is your experience with this type of work?)

  1. _____________________________________________________________
  2. ____________________________________________________________
  3. _____________________________________________________________

Accomplishments and Awards (What are awards or activities that you do well?)

  1. _____________________________________________________________
  2. _____________________________________________________________

Hobbies (How do you like to spend your time?)

  1. _____________________________________________________________
  2. _____________________________________________________________

Job References (Who can we contact to talk about your experience with the job?)

  1. ______________________________ ____________________________


High school students can expand their resumes by including a career goal, identifying college course requirements, and including significant volunteer or paid working experiences for a specific career per the sample resume below:

Sample Resume

Edward Smith Ayala                                                                              

Phone Number: (818) 665-0085                                                         

Email: smith@gmail.com           

Career Goal

Bio Engineering

Marine Biology

Bio Chemistry

Honors and Awards

Presidential Award Recipient

Honor Roll (9th, 10th, and 11th grades)

GPA: 4.3  (Weighted)

Community Activities

Congressional Summer Intern, June 2016-August 2016, The Office of Tony Cardenas, Congressman, 29th District, Arleta, CA

  • Duties included but were not limited to working with district staff in the following areas of constituent services: casework, and correspondence; grants funding; environmental science research; outreach and event staffing; general office support.

Teen Convention Vice-Chairman, June 2015-January 2016, Recovery Teen Convention, Woodland Hills, CA

  • Co-Managed a committee of 15 teens to oversee and run all convention details for 100 teens, including, monthly and bi-monthly meeting reminders and announcements, oversaw sub-committee selections, developed the program agenda, organized fundraisers, and selected program speakers.

Interpreter, August 2015, Christ Church of the Valley, Tacna, Peru

  • Translated (Spanish) for the Peru Summer Mission’s Team
  • Provided educational & tutoring support for students in the Semillas After School Program
  • Provided weekly groceries to the Tacna Community and supported work crews to replace roofing, paint, and resurface church flooring.

Assistant Martial Arts Instructor, October 2011- October 2015, Ken Nagayama Martial Arts, Burbank, CA

  • Assisted teaching in the Kinder Karate Program and learned to reach each student by adjusting my teaching style to better meet their needs
  • Taught students of all ages and levels for 2 hours a week for 4 years

Volunteer Election Campaign Worker, September 2012- March 2015, Monica Garcia for LAUSD Board Los Angeles, CA

  • Helped to register voters
  • Supported bilingual phone banking teams

Volunteer Election Campaign Worker, September 2014- March 2015, Ref Rodriguez for LAUSD Board Los Angeles, CA

  • Educated students and school staff members, through student assemblies and faculty meetings, about each candidate’s election platform and supported the GOTV campaign

Work Experiences/Internships

Dance Coach, January 2016- Present, YPI Valley Public Charter High School, Pacoima, CA

  • Established and developed after school dance club for the new early college high school for 4 hours a week (6 hours a day during school recess)
  • Designs daily lesson plans, provides mentoring and tutoring for the students in the program


  • Cheerleading-BCCS, CCECHS, All Star Athletics, and Cali- All Star (4 years)
  • Dance- Granada and Champs (4 years)
  • Acting/Performing Arts- Golden Theater (3 years)
  • Leadership-Student Government (2 years)
  • Acting/Performing Arts- Children’s Theatre Experience (4 years)
  • Martial Arts-Ken Nagayama Martial Arts (12 years)


As students become aviators in their career explorations, they will be able to understand and articulate clearly what they need to achieve a specific career path. This clarity can guide them to successfully complete all necessary skills and requirements for career success. These experiences can also support students’ interpersonal communication skills and leadership development.

Much success in supporting your children’s career explorations!


Copyright © 2018 by GenParenting

Middle and High School Career Explorations Play Activities

Middle and High School Career Explorations Play Activities 


  • Journal, marking pens, and artist materials for career reflection activities
  • Subscription to a career focused or professional association magazine (e.g. coding, STEM, writing, teaching, counseling, legal services, performing arts, youth development, service learning, construction, sports, business, architecture, and fashion)
  • Registration and participation in activities relevant to a specific passion or career (e.g. maker fair STEM fairs and competitions, science fairs, writing contests, performing arts contests and shows, family karaoke events, and sports recreation nights)
  • Participation and materials that support community service projects
  • Registration for online career explorations through a professional career association that supports youth


  1. Encourage your child to write about various passions, interests, and hobbies in a journal and reflect weekly on relevant activities. Your child can illustrate ideas, brainstorm new projects or concepts, or graph a workplan using different types of art materials in the journal.
  2. Research various subscription options for your child. Local bookstores feature lots of unique publications that focus on hobbies, STEM, performing arts, and self-growth activities.
  3. Help your child purchase relevant books on her hobbies. For example, a potential educator or writer might subscribe to Writer’s Digest, attend a book writing conference, join a local writers’ group, and participate in writing contests to explore a writing and teaching career and build a portfolio of work.
  4. Support your child’s interest and registration in career events in your community. Take trips to sites that feature your child’s passion. For example, a family traveled to Ashland, Oregon to attend the summer Shakespeare Festival because their child was interested in majoring in English and later became a marketing executive for a technology company.
  5. Help your child identify appropriate community service activities relevant to his interests. A child wanted to pursue a career in horticulture and participated with his parents in planting trees throughout the city.
  6. Register your child in a professional organization relevant to her career interests. Examples include:
    • American Educational Research Association for future educators
    • Junior Achievement for work-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy opportunities
    • 4-H for agricultural leadership experiences,
    • Rotary Club Youth Exchange Program for leadership development, cultural understanding, and to become a global citizen.

Relevant Common Core Standards

Listed below are relevant California Common Core Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects:

  • Grades 6 – 8 Research to Build and Present Knowledge: Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including self-generated question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused questions that allow multiple avenues of exploration.
  • Grade 11 – 12 Research to Build and Present Knowledge: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

Copyright © 2018 by GenParenting


Middle and High School Career Explorations Reading Activity

Middle and High School Career Explorations Reading Activity 

 As our children start exploring various careers, you and your child can research together various career exploration websites by googling questions about specific careers. Included below are two educational articles that discuss the importance of having children consider and explore careers during their middle and high school years:

Career Discussion Questions

After reading the two website linked articles or two other relevant articles, discuss the following questions with your child when considering the information presented in the two different articles:

  • Think back about your favorite hobbies or passions in your elementary or middle school years. Share with your child any skills or career choices that you explored at that time and is relevant to what you are doing today. (e.g. I loved to make books and now I am an educator and author.)
  • What are your child’s passions? What can your child do to explore careers using these passions?
  • What middle or high school electives can your child take to expand a career exploration. (For example, a high school student wanted to learn more about being an architect. She attended a summer college camp for seniors at a premier university. During the three-week camp, she learned that she was artistic and creative, but would not be happy working alone for long hours designing homes, etc. This was an important discovery because she was planning on applying to an out-of-state accredited university which would have been very costly.)
  • Has your school provided any career exploration counseling, job fairs, or career planning courses? If no, what can you do to help your child further explore career interests in your community?
  • How can you support your child in pursuing his interests and dreams?
  • What financial guidance or information do you need to support your child’s career education
  • What else do you and your child need to learn about a specific career to map out a plan for a higher education degree or career training program? Write a reflection in the comments section for this blog.

Relevant Common Core Standards

Listed below are relevant California Common Core Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy that support middle and high school learners:

  • Grade 7 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Analyze how two or more authors’ writing about the same topic shape their presentations of key information by emphasizing different evidence or advancing different interpretations of facts.
  • Grades 11-12 Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g. visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Copyright © 2018 by GenParenting

Helping Our High School Students Prepare for College

Helping Our High School Students Prepare for College

As we complete another year of primarily remote learning, our high school students continue to thrive. Many of our graduating seniors have been accepted to four-year colleges with a full year of early learning college credits. These students showcase their talents by participating in college and career events at the school as they interview with board members for future careers and college goals.

Celebrate Achievement

This celebration of achievements prepares our students for the essential skills and educational requirements they will need to complete their college and career goals. As we consider next steps with all of our middle and high school students, we are striving to fully engage them in student led parent-teacher conferences throughout their school years.

Engage Student Learning

To achieve student engagement, we will be adapting the SOAR model of student owned learning (i.e. see Student-Engaged Assessment by Laura Greenstein and Mary Ann Burke) per the following steps:

  1. We will consider what an engaged learner looks like per various definitions of student engagement. Examples may include that the learner is a problem-solver with a variety of solutions, an explorer, or supports community services and an equitable global economy.
  2. Students will apply the SOAR model of learning where a Student Owns their Learning with Achievable Results.
  3. First, the student is ready to learn with sufficient sleep, diet, homework completion, and motivation.
  4. Second, the student understands how he or she learns best (i.e. linguistically, logically, musically, visually, or kinesthetically) and applies this learning style to challenging new lessons. The student learns to modify leaning styles to be more flexible in achieving results.
  5. Third, the student will work with the teacher to determine how she or he will demonstrate learning and apply these strategies to document performance.
  6. Fourth, the student will reflect on what worked and what he or she needs to change in being able to complete the assignment.
  7. Finally, after building a portfolio of lesson completions, the student will meet with her or his teachers to determine final grades and how this documentation will be presented to parents in an upcoming conference.

Students Own Learning

The goal is that the student will be better prepared to understand how he or she can best achieve academic successes and overcome challenges. When feeling challenged, the student will be able to successfully advocate for her or himself in daily life and while attending college.

Much success as we help prepare our kids to self-advocate for their academic and personal growth goals!


Copyright © 2021 by GenParenting




Teaching Our Children About the Black Lives Matter Movement

Teaching Our Children About the Black Lives Matter Movement

When teaching elementary students about the Black Lives Matter Movement, I describe what my life was like as an African American little girl. For example, when I was in elementary school, I did not get to hear Martin Luther King, Jr.  give his original, “I have a Dream” speech. My teachers would play the speech for my class every year so that we could picture this amazing vision for America. Dr. King dreamed that one day black people would be judged by the content of their character, rather than the color of their skin.

My Second Grade Experience

I was in second grade when Dr. King, a preacher and civil rights activist, was killed. I can remember where I was in Brooklyn, New York with my aunt when I heard the news on the TV.  I walked over to the steps and I sat down and cried.  I was seven years old. I was hurt and sad. You see, at that age I understood that Dr. King was trying to get everyone to understand that Black Lives Mattered.  He supported non-violent protests against anyone who would not treat black and brown people equally and with civility. At that time, black people could not sit on the front of buses. They could not vote. They were treated like objects instead of human beings.  Many people thought that black people were strong. They would do cruel things to them like harassing them during daily life or spiting on them while passing by. People would beat up Black people for no reason and say bad things about them and to them.  Black people were bullied for a long time in America.  Unfortunately, this still happens today.

What Black Lives Matters to Me

After I share my story, I explain that the Black Lives Matter Movement was started by three women in 2013 to fight the injustices of black people that may include death, police brutality, laws that are not fair that include housing, economic challenges, and lack of opportunities (see www.tolerance.org). Then the students discuss and write a reflection on how bullying is a form of abuse that all students can relate by asking these questions:

  1. How do you feel when someone is mean to you?
  2. How do you stop the other person and what would you do in the future?
  3. Do you know any who participated in the Black Lives Matter Movement marches in the past year? What did you learn from this event??
  4. What can I do to stop bullying at school?
  5. What can I do to encourage kindness for all students?

Finally, the children reinforce their learning by (1) identifying what they learned about the Black Lives Matter Movement, (2) identify what worked or did not work to support their learning, (3) clarify how they will use this information with other school assignments, and (4) describe how they can use this information in their daily lives.

Added Resources

For more resources on educating children about the Black Lives Matter Movement, you can review the list of reading materials listed on my previous blog at https://genparenting.com/educators-reflection-on-george-floyds-death/#more-1478. Much success as you help your children understand the relevance of the Black Lives Matter Movement in all of our lives.



Copyright (c) 2021 by GenParenting