Preparing Students for the 21st Century Workplace

I work hard to organize my high school Special Education Learning Center classroom a place that prepares students for the 21st Century workplace. Most of my students have goals to prepare for transitioning into either trade school or the workplace, so I devote specific instruction time to preparing for entering the workforce. I take the time to demonstrate and describe how each assignment, unit, book reading, etc directly relates to the workplace.

I let them know that the skills they’re working on in class (or some version of them) will definitely be required when they go to workplace. I share with them my work experiences at different jobs and tell them about tasks I was responsible for and what skills I was required to have.

In terms of classroom management and organization, I am focused on the 21st Century workplace. Everyone in each class has a job or some responsibility. Throughout the year I rotate responsibilities so each student has a turn experiencing the role. Someone is responsible for the floors, the organization of tables and chairs, the bookshelves, distributing supplies, etc. They look forward to these tasks and event if the job seems small they usually take pride in maintaining their area of responsibility.

For classroom management, I have my classes working toward common goals. They earn and lose rewards as a class, not individuals. If an individual student is exhibiting behavior that goes against our class’s agreed upon rules, I first remind the student how their choices affect everyone’s ability to earn the reward. In the 21st Century workplace, each individual employee has their own responsibilities that play into one larger goal of overall success. I organize my classroom in the same way.


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