- Connect students to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) professionals with a variety of backgrounds and work experience to give students insight about how their classwork fits into a professional landscape.
- When communicating with the professional guests, students get to practice effective, businesslike communication.
- Professionals can give real world feedback about the quality of student work and how the work looks and reads in a professional setting.
These opportunities can contribute immensely to students future growth. Students can and should reach out to these visitors on their own. Make sure to encourage them to do so.
- By following up with a thank you note and a letter requesting information interviews, job shadowing opportunities, and advice on resumes and portfolio, students can create a strong and powerful network with the professionals who visit the class.
- Actively seek people to come speak to your classroom.
- Make sure invited professionals come from many different backgrounds to ensure a culturally diverse group of people share their stories with your students.
- Mentors can come from anywhere. People you meet at conferences, friends and families, or non-profit organizations. A mentor may even be someone you meet in line at a store or event!
- Plan activities for classes with a guest professional; this gives everyone involved a meaningful and interactive experience. Possible activities include: portfolio critique, mock interviews, evaluate projects, guest speaker, career panel Q&A.
- Pair students with mentors to help build skills and add a personal experience.
- Consider creating a formalized mentoring community at your school similar to the iMentor program at AFSE in New York City or icouldbe.org.
- This works best in areas with a high density of tech workers, but you can create remote mentoring opportunities as well by using web-technologies like video-chat.
- Bring speakers into classrooms, in person or through video-chat, and take field trips to companies in order to connect students to real workplaces.
- Reach out to experts in the technology field and ask them to review your curriculum every year or two for feedback.