Conversations in Education
From teacher book groups to conversations in the faculty lounge, Prep faculty and administrators think a lot about how we support students. Each month in 2017-18, we are featuring a piece by a Prep faculty member or administrator that gives a slice of life at Prep. If you would like to share your ideas, feel free to comment on an individual post or contact Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper.
From teacher book groups to conversations in the faculty lounge, Prep faculty read and talk a lot about education. Each month we highlight a few memorable pieces or videos. Our goal is to make the process of parenting, learning and living a little saner, to put things a little more in perspective. These articles will be chosen by Prep teachers and administrators. If you want to share your ideas, feel free to comment on an individual post or contact Dean of Studies Sarah Cooper.
March Newsletter: Junior Internship Day (JID)—Behind the Scenes
By Colleen Bissner, Co-Director of Alumni Relations
Junior Internship Day is a fun and challenging puzzle. I’ve been managing the program since its inception in 2013, and it only gets better each year. Preparing for JID begins in December and culminates in May—this year it’s May 10—when every junior is given the day off from school to go to a place of business to learn about a profession.
Before this day can materialize, we need to secure about 40 adult hosts within the Prep community—current parents, alumni parents and alumni—who are interested, local and available. We want the hosts to act as mentors, but also to engage the students with interesting tasks and hands-on work where possible. These eager young minds love to be challenged!
Once we get hosts’ commitments and summaries of their occupations, along with descriptions of what the students should expect from the day, we create an online survey with this information. Juniors rate their interests and explain why they made particular choices. Now, we have all of the puzzle pieces, and it’s time to figure out where they fit.
Reading the students’ comments and talking with teachers and administrators who know the students’ personalities is the next step in making placement decisions. If the junior spends spare time watching real-life surgeries on T.V. and finds it fascinating, but has never had the opportunity to be in an actual operating room, he or she is a good candidate for the slot.
On the other end of the spectrum, if a student’s reason for wanting to spend the day with an entertainment production company is “because I enjoy watching movies,” we’ll examine their other choices. We are looking for passion. And, if no particular passion has been developed yet, it’s a great start to discovery. We remind students that it’s just as important to figure out what you don’t like as it is to figure out what you do like! One student recently thanked us for the firsthand experience because without it, he says he would have naively pursued the wrong path in college.
We also want students to develop professional business practices. They are given class time to research their mentor’s business and then send an email introducing themselves and detailing their particular interests. Lastly, following the internship day, our goal is to teach students how to top off their experience by writing a letter of thanks to their hosts including words expressing highlights of their day.
Of course, there are snags now and then which can’t be avoided when we are dealing with busy professionals who may have to take an unexpected business trip, or an athlete who has to miss participation, but the process and the end result is rewarding for me, and hopefully for everyone involved.
If you would like to be involved as a host in a future Prep internship day, please contact Colleen Bissner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 818-949-5523.
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