Teacher introduces “5 Minute Mentors” for student career exploration

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Schenectady, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Many students start exploring potential careers paths in high school through job shadows and internships, but the pandemic is throwing a wrench in those plans. One local teacher is now finding a way around the hurdle.

Molly Brown is the Work Based Learning Coordinator for Schalmont Central School District. She works with a number of special education students who typically would have the opportunity to get out into the community and learn about the different career options available after high school. They tour job sites, shadow employees and even secure internships. This year, due to the pandemic, those hands-on, in-person opportunities are not an option. “So far we are not seeing that avenue open up to us, so we really are trying to think outside of the box,” said Brown.

Brown recently came up with a concept called “5 Minute Mentors”. She’s asking professionals to send her students a short video clip explaining what they do on a daily basis, the skills they use and how they landed the job. “We have dentists and DJs, we have people who are involved in social work and rehab. So we’re really, by word of mouth, getting quite a variety,” said Brown.

So far, she’s received some thirty submissions through the FlipGrid App. For students like Aleysia Micalizzi, the videos have been very engaging. She told News10 she’s interested in learning more about meteorology. “I’ve seen Steve Caporizzo plenty of times on News10 and it inspires me watching him every day on the news,” said Micalizzi.

Brown said while this concept was started with her special education students in mind, it has since peaked the interest of other teachers throughout the district who are helping their students decide what they would like to major in in college and how to get a jumpstart on their desired careers. “We have an 8th grade job shadowing program where the entire 8th grade goes out to places that they help arrange themselves. This year they’re not able to do that, so I’m hoping that they will be using the 5 Minute Mentor program and their teachers reached out to ask that that be possible,” said Brown.

“Please submit a video so we can see what you do. That would be great!,” said Micalizzi.

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