Get your high school class to start thinking about what they're going to do after they graduate. Have your students do a research project on careers and write an essay. This step-by-step lesson is easy to implement.
In this lesson plan, students will do an interest survey, explore careers, report on a career of their choice, and include a plan to prepare for the career choice. Your career essay lesson plan should begin with the following overview.
The student assignment is to research a career. The finished product must include the following in this order:
1. Final Draft
2. Works Cited
4. Rough Draft with Proof of Revision and Editing
Giving an overview will allow students to know what they're getting themselves into, allowing them to make a plan.
Give students an opportunity to research careers, come up with goals, and formulate a plan.
Take your students to the computer lab and have them complete an interest survey (here's a good site for career interest surveys; here's another career interest survey).
- Instruct them to explore/research a career. It may or may not be one that the interest survey chooses.
- Create a ten-year academic and career plan. I recommend a planning sheet.
- Write an essay based on your findings.
The essay is the final product.
The Research Paper
These guidelines should help. Feel free to copy and paste.
The paper should include five paragraphs:
First Paragraph – Write an introduction that grabs the reader’s attention and has a clearly written thesis statement as the last sentence.
Body Paragraph #1 – Discuss the interest survey. Consider the following questions: What categories interest you the most? Were you surprised? What careers did the interest survey think you might enjoy? Had you ever thought about those careers before? What career options surprised you? What do you really want to do? This paragraph should be 8-12 sentences. It should include facts from the survey and your thoughts and insights on the results. Make sure your paragraph reads like a paragraph (transitions are nice) and not just someone listing answers to a bunch of teacher generated questions.
Body Paragraph #2 – Choose a career (it may or may not be a career that matches your interest survey). Research information on that career. Find out how much it pays, what the job entails, the level of education required, skills required, future job prospects, current job prospects, regions of the country/world where the job is in high demand, whether or not the local economy has needs of it, and which colleges/universities/trade schools can get you the best education for the career. This paragraph should be 8-12 sentences. Make sure your paragraph reads like a paragraph (transitions are nice) and not just someone listing answers to a bunch of teacher generated questions.
Body Paragraph #3 – Make a plan for success. What must you do in high school to prepare to do this career? What post-secondary education is required to succeed at this career? What skills do you need to develop to succeed in this career? What personal weaknesses must you overcome to succeed? Set some goals. Set a time frame. Dream a little. This paragraph should be 8-12 sentences. Make sure your paragraph reads like a paragraph (transitions are nice) and not just someone listing answers to a bunch of teacher generated questions.
Last Paragraph - Write a conclusion. Wrap it up. Show some enthusiasm. Inspire me.
Students who need more guidance may benefit from this career essay handout.
Choosing a Writing Topic
Most student essays and research papers bore the teacher to tears, which makes sense because doing the research and writing the paper bores the student to tears. Teaching students how to choose an essay topic or a research topic makes the experience better for all.
- How to Choose a Topic for a Research Paper?
- Lesson Plan: How to Choose the Topic of a Research Paper
- Tips on Writing a Research Paper: How to Identify a Topic Question for Essays and Research Papers
- A Lesson Plan: Career Research Project & Essay