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Tue May 14, 2019, 09:24 PM

Help with a Career Day talk for 8th graders - how do I hook them in?

A friend of mine asked me to speak at her school's career day. I have no problem doing that except for one part - the intro and the hook. I know I have to hook my audience within the first 10 seconds or it's game over.

Here's a synopsis of my talk - 20/25 minutes to 8th graders about a career in finance and cyber (aka programming). Among the topics I'm going to touch on:

1. What to take in high school (the usual math, sciences)
2. The importance of taking/participating in the following, no matter what direction you choose for your career
Writing - not everything can be communicated in tweets
Public speaking - because you will have to speak out loud at least once in your life
Debating - you won't agree with everyone and you need to get your point across with all sorts of people
Philosophy - you need to think about problems and figure out different angels
Art/music - again, it's about thinking a different way
3. Remembering what they taught you in kindergarten
Don't push or shove - bullies might win short term but eventually it catches up with them
Be nice to everyone - the nerd you don't like today will be your boss tomorrow
Take a nap - you can't work or play all the time, you need to rest sometimes and do nothing
Have fun
4. Try something you are afraid of - I hated computers when they first came out
5. Learn the rules well before you decide to break any

Anything else? Again, how do I begin or hook them in?

Thanks so much. It's been so long since I was an 8th grader and certainly not today's 8th grader!

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 09:30 PM

1. LOVE WHAT YOU DO AND BE PASSIONATE

When you do, everything else (e.g. happiness, money, fame, etc) follows.

(Sorry about the all caps...I am very passionate about this!)

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 09:37 PM

2. Tell them you will let them leave 10 min early...that will do the trick.

Actually, visuals help out as well as some sort of participation. You can pass stuff out, put some graphics on a power point display, maybe cut out and show a funny one line cartoon/comic related to what you are doing. You can have them talk with the person next to them or discuss in a small group something about your presentation. Maybe take a vote if things slow down or have them write an anonymous question on a piece of paper in case you have time at the end you can pull the questions out of a hat.

Make sure your teacher friend tells you what her/his discipline plan is for them and how he/she will handle it and how much of the classroom management will be left up to you.

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 09:37 PM

3. Think of the "so what" that drives your job. Why does it matter? What's an anecdote that illustrates

what your career delivers? Then, how did you get there?

2. Regarding this point, they've heard it before, and it sounds boring. So look for ways to talk about how they already are doing writing, philosophy, and art and music. Tweeting teaches them how to boil down a thought to its most basic, and it's always harder to write short than long -- so they've got a head start! Snapchat and IG filters teach them how to frame shots and get the best angles, and TikTok teaches them how to meld music and visuals. The nihilist memes they love to share are actually modern ways of wrestling with classic philosophical questions. Etc.

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Response to WhiskeyGrinder (Reply #3)

Tue May 14, 2019, 10:47 PM

6. Excellent idaes

I knew I had to get on their level with shared experiences but didn't know what.

Frankly, being in banking and cyber I don't Tweet or Snapchat or whatever but will learn about them to get the point across. Looks like I'm the one schooled.

Now on to learn about...TikTok?!?!

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 09:43 PM

4. What's the best, most exciting anecdote you can think of?

Cyber? Programming?

There must be some good material there. The anecdotes come first to hook them. Get them to participate in the anecdotes!

Don't talk to them. Talk with them.

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 10:40 PM

5. tell em to go to a trade school like electric, plumbing, car repair nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #5)

Tue May 14, 2019, 10:50 PM

8. they already have an electrician coming

And yes, a plumber made more on New Year's Day when my pipes burst than my orthopedist. However, not everyone is suited to the trades - I physically cannot and never could. That doesn't make them less...

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 10:48 PM

7. thanks all - keep em coming...

I'm ok training adults but kids?!?!? Preteens?!??! That's terrifying!!

Appreciate the DU love, support, and ideas

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 11:09 PM

9. Pay special attention to the point you're most interested in

Show your interest in it. Possibly by inserting a light joke or connecting it to a fun story.

If that doesn't work...bribe them with candy

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 11:17 PM

10. My pharmacology prof

Would give us an outline of the lecture with words left out __________ and spaces where we would fill in the words as he would say them.
You could prepare something like that and pass the papers out at the beginning of your talk.

Try something you are ___________ of.
Everyone who fills theirs out correctly gets an Air Head or a Sour Punch Straw.
Yes bribery, but hey, this is a tough crowd. 8th grade tons of hormones and a lack of maturity.
Good Luck! You’ll do awesome
It is really nice of you to take the time to do this.

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Tue May 14, 2019, 11:28 PM

11. Start by describing the coolest problem that you have ever worked on.

Or describe a problem in your field that the kids can work on one day. Allow them to ask a few questions that you answer, then go into why the training that they get now in school is important, math, the ability to write and speak clearly, the ability to imagine new solutions to problems and convince others that those solutions are the right way to go.

Absolutely avoid falling into your profession speak, you will end up using words and terms that will cause you to lose the kids.

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Response to Paula Sims (Original post)

Wed May 15, 2019, 06:22 AM

12. Tell them the coolest piece of code that did something powerful but was small and quick.

Relate it to something that would impact their real, every day lives.

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