🏠😷🦠 Life As A QuaranTEEN 🦠😷🏠 The UnifiEd Student Voice Team Blog Surrounding COVID-19
February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) month, so as we close out February, we wanted to take a moment to recognize CTE in our county, the importance of CTE, and our own personal...
experiences with CTE. While CTE is sometimes thought of as only technical education classes for vocational programs or as advanced technology classes for STEM fields, but in reality, CTE is both of these things and all of the intersections that lie between these two extremes.
Personally, I have been most involved with CTE through the Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs) in my school and across the state. I have been involved with the Technology Student Association (TSA) since the sixth grade. If you’re unfamiliar with CTSOs or TSA, think of DECA, HOSA, FBLA, or FFA. Those four are all CTSOs. The state of Tennessee also has TSA, SkillsUSA, and FCCLA as CTSOs offered to students. However, there are other CTSOs provided across the country. I first joined TSA because my gifted teacher recommended it to me as something I would be interested in, and I fell in love with it and have only increased my involvement with the organization since. Now, I am currently serving as the State President and plan to become involved with the organization’s leadership after graduating in May. Throughout my time in TSA, I have developed skills and an interest in STEM and have become a better leader. The goal of CTSOs is to connect students with career options and interests, but they are also incredibly beneficial in creating young leaders amongst middle and high school students. My time in high school has been made far better as a result of my involvement in TSA and CTSOs, and I would recommend them to every student.
Career and technical education is so underrated at most schools. If it’s not a direct path to college, then it’s overlooked. However, at my school, there is a program called Future Ready. Essentially, incoming freshmen get put into cohorts with each other. In these groups, they will all take the same class and have the same schedules through to their senior year. These cohorts will have different focuses such as business or computer science and will take specific classes to prepare them for these specialized futures.
A significant difference I’ve noticed in a future-ready-based class setting versus a “regular” class setting is the real-life application pushed upon the students. Whether an experienced person in a job field comes to present or students are tasked with applying their textbook knowledge to real-world situations, critical thinking is a core element of its teaching style. Beyond day-to-day classroom expectations, they raise the bar when it comes to presentations, open houses, and projects for the students. Thinking outside of the box is a skill that every student works hard at developing. I’d love to see what happens if this program is eventually integrated into all of the school classrooms.
There are so many careers in technology, from computer science to programming to software engineering. Most tech jobs, though, require an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. There are so many colleges in Tennessee with outstanding tech programs, such as Tennessee Tech, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Knoxville, and Tennessee College of Applied Technology located in Nashville. There are even certifications you can achieve before applying to college, like Microsoft and Google Suite certifications. The best prep to do when the goal is a tech career is to take coding courses online, and some of them are even free! There is so much you can do before college to prepare for your dream tech career, but you just have to research and see what fits you best and learn!