Career awareness refers to experiences that students have in the classroom as early as kindergarten that allow them to learn about different careers. These experiences are curated and implemented by educators and embedded throughout the curriculum. Through career awareness activities, teachers can help connect content, such as Biology, Physics, or Mathematics, with real world problems, resulting in an increase in student engagement.
Students become aware of how the skills and practices they are using in the classroom are similar to what a professional in that field would actually do. For example, students might learn about what a conservation biologist does and how it’s similar to what the fourth graders are doing as they strive to help preserve the population of pika living in the Columbia River Gorge.
These types of activities can help students imagine themselves in certain roles and expand their perspective of the available careers in their community and beyond. They also serve as a “window” to help students get a glimpse into the professional life of a person who is solving real problems in the real world. The hope is that as students progress through school this “window” will transform into a door of opportunity through a more concrete pathway.