Our new Form 2 class at Shimoni Secondary has been great so far this year. Mr Omondi, the headmaster of the school, has requested that we teach them career development skills during our once-a-week English class, so that’s what we have been focusing on for the last few weeks.
The first class was all about cover letter writing. The students already knew how to write a formal letter, but had no idea about the content of a cover letter. During their first try of writing a cover letter, a lot of them wrote that they wanted a job because they needed money to take care of their family. I told them that although this is probably one of your main motivations to get a job, this is not a reason why a future employer might hire you instead of someone else. The next lesson we had another try and the students did a lot better, writing about their ambitions and talents. After that, we moved on to C.V. writing – most students had never heard of this before. When they wrote their own C.V.’s some of them even wrote down their future jobs, which is very ambitious but obviously besides the point of a C.V. Other than that, they did very well and they were all very eager for us teachers to come round the classroom and correct their C.V.’s.
For this week’s lesson, we focused on job interviews. Even if they’re able to write perfect cover letters and C.V.’s, they still need to be able to present themselves well during an interview. We talked about different questions that might be asked during an interview and told them to be well-prepared. Myself and one of the volunteers, Jessica, did two examples of job interviews in front of the class: one bad example and one good example. They all thought it was hilarious when Jessica pretended to be a very uninterested and rude teacher with a short attention span and no qualification or experience whatsoever. When she showed them a good example of an interview and I decided to hire her, this was followed by a loud applause. We made them practice interviews in pairs as well and had a few of them come to the front of the class to show us their interviews. I was pleased to see that they did very well.
After this last lesson one of the students came up to me and asked: “Madam, so once you’ve done all this, you’ve written a cover letter and a C.V. and you’ve come to a job interview… what’s next?!”. He almost looked frustrated; I don’t think that before these classes he realised how much effort it takes to get a job. I told him that after doing all that, he might get hired for the job, and I could see the relief on his face. I hope this is true and that these lessons will help the students get the job they want, be it a nurse, teacher, pilot or anything else they might dream of.
Lisanne Spruit – Shimoni Community Field Staff