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G R E AT T E A C H I N G 23 December 2017 | Professionally Speaking PHOTOS: MARKIAN LOZOWCHUK To view our Great Teaching video archive, visit oct-oeeo.ca/GTvideos BY JESSICA LEEDER G etting our youth to think critically about their career path is no easy task, but Amanda Carrol, OCT, has found a way to captivate students as young as sixth graders and jump-start their thoughts about jobs. It goes like this: Carrol, an elementary teacher and guidance counsellor, assembles a class full of students into one corner. With Grade 6s, 7s or 8s clustered around her, she divides the room into four quadrants. One, she explains, is for those who are university bound, while another is for those headed into the workplace. A third quadrant is for college-bound students and she reserves the final for those interested in apprenticeships. Carrol instructs the group to stand in the area that best matches how they see their future playing out. At first, almost everyone rushes to the university corner. Although, you see a few experience a sort of paralysis. "Some are just frozen," Carrol says, "and they don't know what to choose." This is her cue to launch into the talk she set out to deliver, one that the entire room, stumped and now curious, is sure to tune into. Keen to show middle school students that they have more options than they likely thought possible, Carrol tries to demystify college by explaining what it offers. She also explains what, exactly, an apprenticeship is — the word being one that many have simply never heard. By the time Carrol finishes, the "game" has students buzzing about their future, which, she reminds them, is actually just around the corner. No one knows this better than Carrol, who supports the elementary guidance counsellors in the Peel District School Board. These individuals ensure that more than 12,000 Grade 8s are prepared when selecting their high school courses. In fact, the resource teacher specializes in equipping students, parents and teachers across the board's 87 schools for the unique transition teens experience when crossing over to their fast-paced high school years. Her title is instructional resource teacher for Program Pathways/Grade 7–10 Transitions; Carrol is currently serving the first year of her second three-year term in the job, which is based out of the board office in Mississauga, Ont. Amanda Carrol, OCT, ensures teachers and students are equipped to navigate the challenges and changes they face throughout their time at school. tr ansitions smooth

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