Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Word hunting

A particularly traumatizing incident in high school was discovering the results of their career aptitude exam. We were forced to write scientifically designed tests that were created to determine our intelligence level and interests in order to match us with the Ultimate Career Path.

I remember meeting with the guidance counselor who looked a little embarrassed to tell me (the overachieving honor student) my results.


Mattress Maker or Cake Decorator.

These jobs still mock me. Don’t get me wrong. I am sure that they make a fine career choice for many. Cake Decorating is very creative. I don’t think either job would challenge me or be fitting for me.

The real kicker was in this moment. It was further clarified that I had scored quite low in the vocabulary section. If those marks were altered, I would have made an excellent Lawyer or Journalist. Is that not a leap? I got very excited at that prospect, as I had been considering going to University for Journalism. The encouraging guidance counselor then told me that Journalism was really all about who you knew and therefore he didn’t recommend this option. Lovely! What fantastic advice. Apparently you would have made a better garbage man.


So why is this haunting me today? I’ve decided to take the advice of a former teacher and create a special word box for Strawberry. We bought her an Illustrated Dictionary for Young Children and now I’m going to type up all 1,300 words and put them in her personalized word box. She will pick out a word each day and together we will look up the definition. This is supposed to encourage an interest in language but I just think that it will be fun. Plus I hope no one ever tells her she is not capable of achieving anything that she puts her mind to.

23 Singing the blues:

Sunshine Scribe said...

A word box sounds like a fabulous idea. I wish I had done that with my son.

Shame on that high school career aptitude test. That is so damaging for many young people. I remember mine said I should be an accountant. Ya, I can't do math without a calculator.

rhonda said...

We never had that test in HS. I think that is CRAZY what they said! Just terrible.

That word box idea is fantastic! HMMM. I just may have to be inspired by that idea!

Marcie said...

That's a great idea to boost vocabulary. I hate those tests and a story like this just goes to show you their useless.

chelle said...

OMG That is a wonderful IDEA!!! Love it!!

Grr those tests...I have a degree in psychology and really really psychologists mock those tests. A lot of the are not well designed at all!!

Believe in yourself...they rest will fall into place!

(so loving that idea!!) I need a book for future cool projects to do with my daughter!)

Pattie the Domesticator said...

I remember taking a similar test in high school. One of my friends results came back "parking lot attendant." I mean c'mon...it certainly didn't encourage her to reach for her personal best potential. She laughed it off, then cried about it later.

I think sometimes those in positions of guidance may not understand the impact of their poor advice and how it can seriously effects the path one chooses in life.

It's great that you are conscious of not allowing the same thing to happen to your daughter.

Nicole said...

That test is crazy. I think that's what wrong with a lot of education. People get an idea of what certain kids can achieve and then don't encourage them to exceed these expectations (which are usually based on biased information anyway). Then, of course, the kids don't achieve.

I think your word box idea will help your daughter with more than vocabulary and language. It will teach her how to learn new things!

Pattie the Domesticator said...

Hi, me again...Loved this post so much, I had to touch on it over at my place. Thanks!

kittenpie said...

That is so crazy. Really, I can see the value in a test that points to very large, general ideas like, "You might like a job where you work with people in a heping capacity." That might at least get kids thinking about what kind of person they are and what kind of work environment might suit them. They could then start looking into what jobs that might include. Say, assistant, teacher, nurse, librarian, counter help, customer service, and a mulititude of others. But to suggest one or two crappy jobs as the only options is just bloody irresponsible and soul-crushing.

Mega Mom said...

I definitely don't remember any kind of test like that :)

Great idea with the word box!

J's Mommy said...

That sounds like a great (time-consuming) idea!!! You should share the word of the day with us as well!!

Mom101 said...

I would just like to say that my first job (in high school) WAS cake decorator, at Carvel. And I bet that aptitude test, could I remember the results, suggested it was a skill for which I had no aptitude.

I love your last sentence. With you as her mom and this attitude, rest assured she will achieve whatever it is she sets her mind to.

Mocha said...

But, of course, if they DO tell her she can't do anything she puts her mind to, that person will have a slew of angry people on their doorsteps, right?

Right.

mama_tulip said...

I love this idea. My mom and I used to do something similar -- if I stumbled across a word I didn't know in a book or wherever, we'd look it up and use it in sentences together. I loved it -- I still have scraps of paper that we jotted words and sentences down on.

IzzyMom said...

I took one of those tests and it said I should be a social worker or a photographer. Eh. Not so jazzed about those selections. Even funnier, my husband, who is a freaking genius, was told he should be an upholsterer. WTF? lol

HeatherJ said...

We had to take those tests too, I think mine said counselor (as in marriage and family)but that didn't pan out. I remember being told I couldn't be a surgeon or architect because I didn't have great hand/eye coordination. This really did hurt me because I had always dreamed of being an architect. I hope that my daughters never have to deal with someone telling them they can not be something because of a silly test.

Jennifer said...

In high school I was told strictly to stick to English and Theatre because I excelled at them. The counselor ignored the fact that I got 98% in Biology when I said I wanted to be a doctor...in fact I think he said something to the effect of men make better health care providers and medicine is boring. Um. I graduated from nursing school with honors and I love my job. Always remember: those who can't do, counsel. :)

scarbie doll said...

Great idea, will have to steal it when the time is right.

Sue said...

Me...a cabinet maker. I am super clumsy, I can't tell right from left or recognize a shape when it is flipped over, but I was supposed to be a cabinet maker. To ice the cake (not to disparage your would-be profession) my counselor told me "You probably should consider doing something other than college," since I had NO CLUE about college since no one in my family had ever gone!!

The upshot is that I graduated college at age 43. With honors. With a degree in journalism, which was my talent all along. (It is indeed who you know but if you can write, you will get to know the right people really fast).

About the word box - it is a good idea, but not quite as good as finding wonderful age-appropriate books and reading them. Any good children's librarian will be delighted to help you! Your child won't even notice that they are *gasp* learning. They will think they are having fun.

MrsFortune said...

Gah! I hate those freakin' tests. Naturist - wait I mean naturalist - that was mine, and I really am NOT much of an outdoorsy type. How dumb. Now, I'm a teacher and all but I fucking hate guidance counselors, to be quite honest. Useless, the lot of 'em!

As for the word box thing - you're going to type up 1,300 words? You're a far better woman than I.

Mrs. Chicky said...

I remember taking that test but I can't for the life of me remember what my career path was supposed to be... I guess it left that big of an impression on me! The word box sounds like a fantastic idea.

I wonder what a Mattress Makers job responsibilities entail?

Mrs. Davis said...

I don't remember what that test told me I should be in high school, but I've taken the Myers-Briggs a few times as an adult and it was right on. The Myers-Briggs "type" that I am suggests really great jobs: Military Leader (NOT!) Judge, Scientist...bahahaha, but also Lawyer (which I still keep in the back of my mind as possibility), Corporate Strategist (sounds cool), and Professor/Teacher.

The word box sounds excellent. I bet your daughter will love it.

kittenpie said...

Sue - thanks for the children's librarian plus, Sue! She's right, and there are lots of libraries in Toronto, each with great, dedicated children's librarians who can suggests books new or classic. *pats own back*

something blue said...

Domesticator - Ouch parking lot attendant. Your friend must love the outdoors and the chance to chat with all types of people. Who ever designed those tests and results should be shot. I wonder if they still make today's youth do them?

Sue - That is fantastic that you achieved your goal! I love success stories. Thanks for your suggestion. I agree. We have truckloads of books that we read daily. I couldn't live without books!

Mrs. Chicky - I thought as a Mattress Maker I'd like to be the seal of approval tester #21. I'd do a jumping work out, roll around with some hottie, and then spoon together for an afternoon nap. Yes that IS my dream job.

Mrs. Davis - The Myers-Briggs questionaires are way more accurate. Although I have to wonder since I've only done this as an adult. I know myself better and possibly know how to manipulate a test to get the results I desire.

Kittenpie - love the library and the reading groups. We make weekly visits!

To everyone who wants a word box I think I should start selling them! Million dollar idea? Hmmm...