Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Get Thee To A Nunnery

I usually ask one question on each of my tests in music theory that has nothing to do with the immediate material but is intended to make the students think. One of my favorites is to ask them what they might like to be doing if they were not pursuing a career in music. Because students today seem to have had many experiences and opportunities before they get to college, most have a ready answer to my question. To some extent, I think that they may also get better information about potential jobs from high school counseling than I did when I was in high school nearly thirty years ago. (Wow! That hurt.)

Kids today are given several different tests that are designed to identify both their interests and their talents. Erin came home with the results of her tests this week. This is the child who loves theater, plays soccer, and is on the Academic math team. Her recommendation is as follows:

"Your high scores bring together many characteristics that can be useful to people. You are a creative and outgoing person and you enjoy helping others with their problems. You also have the ability to communicate your ideas and thoughts clearly. You may be a person who likes to teach or to plan fund raising programs for charity. For you, what is important is that you are helping others. Most occupations in this pairing require at least a Bachelor's degree or some post high school courses. It is also helpful to have a Master's degree or a PhD in many of these occupations."

In terms of assessing her strengths, this evaluation is right on. So what career opportunities do they suggest she explore? At the top of the list is clergy or nun. I know many people who would like to send their teenaged daughters to the convent but I have not heard of any getting real support for such a plan. According to the test, such a career path best utilizes her skill set and requires the most education. If that much education is not appealing, she should consider being a teacher. Should Erin want to lean more toward her creative side rather than her people side, she should consider being a writer; again, this path requires the most education. Being an actor requires some education. If she really does not want to go to school post high school, she can be a comedian. Seemingly one does not have to be well educated to be funny. Maybe all those really stupid things that fall out of the mouths of comedians are because they honestly don't know any better.

Erin has several years before she has to decide which career path to follow. At least she knows what some of her options are - and aren't. She scored a zero on the business and management section. She is quite organized and could perform jobs in this area, but I know she would not be happy. So, check back in six or eight years to see how accurate this test is.

I remember taking a similar test when I was in high school. It recommended that I be a forest ranger. I am not sure what this was based on. I do enjoy the outdoors. There are times when I would be perfectly content in a cabin in the woods communing with nature. My second option was to become a lawyer. Yeah, well. Third on the list was a musician. I don't remember if teacher was suggested at all. At this point in my life, though there are many things that I enjoy and I would be happy doing, I can't imagine doing anything that did not involve some aspect of teaching.

Did you take any test like these? Were they accurate? What are you doing now? What would you like to be doing?