Magazine article Techniques

Pride in Our Profession: Together We Make It Work

Magazine article Techniques

Pride in Our Profession: Together We Make It Work

Article excerpt

YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE! NO DOUBT ABOUT IT--these are trying times for education and it seems like we're under fire from every direction. Funding, performance and overall effectiveness are just a few of the shots taken almost daily and reported by the media. Don't fall for the media spin and hype surrounding the tough times and choices that lie ahead. YOU make a difference! In fact. YOU make the difference! I travel the country and have the distinct pleasure of working with career and technical education (GTE) teachers, critical support stall members, and administrators every day in my capacity as a CTK enrollment and retention expert. The amazing teams of CTE professionals that I interact with care deeply for the work they do--and they are changing countless lives for the better.

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A Tale of Two Brothers

The perfect CTE success story is unfolding; in my own family. I have two sons, Matt, 24, and Nick, 22, both great young men who are very different from one another. During high school. Matt did not get an opportunity for CTE due to changing school districts after his sophomore year. Consequently, when he went on to Ohio University, he needed to do career exploration for his first several years at $2,200 per month. (Can you relate to that?) In that respect, he is a lot like me I did the same thing. Matt finally settled on a course of study that best lit his strengths, and today is very successful as a proud member of our Tools for Schools team, helping CTE schools strategically plan their integration of social media while building a powerful Web presence. Perfect fit: mission accomplished.

Nick, on the other hand, has known what he wanted to do since he was a fetus. He wants to work with computers and be a programming guru. During his sophomore year of high school he toured Cuyahoga Valley Career Center's (CVCC) Programming and Software Development Program in the suburbs of Cleveland, and was hooked. This program changed Nick's life. Up to that day, Nick was sporting an impressive 1.5 grade point average, had missed the maximum number of school days of his first two years of high school, and turned in homework as frequently as Halley's Comet passes within eyeshot of our planet.

But despite all this, Nick aced every test. Imagine the parental frustration of watching your extremely intelligent son, with a 4.0 understanding of everything that was taught to him, never turn in homework because he saw it as a complete waste of time. I know what you're thinking

... yes, I tried everything! I watched, guided, pressured and hounded him like a storm trooper in hot pursuit. Even when he completed his homework and it was visually verified, somehow before he reached school it would magically disappear from his book bag, pocket or underwear (for all I know).

The truth is that Nick wasn't engaged in his education. He didn't understand why so much time in school was spent doing things he had no interest in doing. That all changed the day he was accepted to CVCC. Nick's junior and senior years were the complete opposite of his first two. He missed only two days during both years (and that was because I had to keep him home with a high temperature). He loved school, he loved programming, and he was really good at ii. GTE changed Nick's life--because he was the right student, in the right program, for the right reasons.

Fast-forward a couple years. Nick significantly increased his grade point average in high school and graduated with a small scholarship to Akron University. He is a senior today with a 3.0 grade point average, on his way to a bachelor of science degree in programming and software development. He has a paid internship at a local health care software firm that has offered to hire him full-time upon graduation, while also paying for his graduate studies to become a professional software engineer. Perfect fit: mission accomplished.

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Pulling Together to Make it Work

This story is not unique; in fact as I travel, I hear thousands of similar stories from parents and schools throughout the nation. …

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