Today I had a pretty awesome opportunity. I represented Coastal Carolina University and I went out to Loris Middle School to take part in the Roaring Lions Career Day. For most of my readers who don’t know, Loris is a tiny town located in South Carolina about 45 minutes away from Myrtle Beach. Early this morning I ventured out to the middle school to educate a bunch of eighth graders on what I do for a living.
When I worked at the University of Montana I visited a lot of elementary and middle schools because I was in charge of our Griz Student of the Month program. However, it never required me to stand up in front of a classroom for an extended period of time. Tasked today with giving a 40 minute presentation on all facets of my job, I just hoped that I wouldn’t bore the poor kids to death.
But in all honesty, I was sent to fight against such a reaction. We thought perhaps the eighth graders would enjoy listening to someone with a career in utilizing fun tools such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Yik Yak. So, with the understanding that I would actually be talking in their language, I thought my presentation had the potential to go over well. Armed with a PowerPoint full of Chauncey photos, plenty of giveaway items, and trivia questions sprinkled throughout my slides, I stood up in front of the classroom and did my thing.
Behind my gimmicks and corniness, I tried to stress one major theme to the students: Social media is a legitimate career that is on the rise. I tried to supplement that message with ways in which the students could position themselves for social media jobs in the future if that was the direction they wanted to head. I also went through what I do on a daily basis, objectives that are expected out of me, professionalism/salary/work ethic, and the reasons why I love my job. Except for the two students who slept through my whole presentation, the other 100 eighth graders seemed to be engaged with and interested in what I had to say. The lively Q&A sessions after each of my talks assured me that students are interested in new media careers.
With my last sentence, you are probably now aware that I gave more than one presentation. Believe it or not, I gave FOUR of them. Different eighth grade classes circulated throughout my assigned classroom during the morning. Let me say this, I gained a great appreciation for middle school and high school teachers (as I date an elementary teacher, I already have the utmost respect for them). Speaking for 40 minutes is tiring enough but to do it four times in a row is a bit taxing. Sure, you develop your delivery by the fourth time but everything starts running together. I was asking myself during the last two presentations whether I had already told the students certain points or not.
After each presentation, at least one or two students stayed behind to either ask me questions in a more private manner or to just shake my hand. I thought that was pretty neat. When the morning ended, all the professionals ate with the Loris staff in the teacher’s lounge. We were treated to fried chicken, green beans, rice and gravy, and peach cobbler. As sixth graders, seventh graders, and eighth graders all had various professional speak to them, about 12 people who “sacrificed” their mornings at work to attend the Roaring Lions Career Day filled the lounge. I sat at a table with a land surveyor, a lawyer, and a high school head football coach. It was a great way to end my day at Loris Middle School.
I had a rewarding time participating in today’s career day. Getting out of the office every now and then to speak to young people is a special treat. I hope to do this again in the future while continuing to educate students on the very real and prospering career of social media. Hats off to all the teachers out there who devote everything they have to the young people who are our future. Don’t Blink.