Sneak Peek: CareerSmart Classrooms


Several months ago, I was talking with a school district pathways leader and was reminded freshly about how important it is to get all teachers in school invested in the career pathways mindset. I often hear, “We’re really excited about the pathways work, but we’re not sure how to get our academic teachers on board with it.”

Honestly, unless you’re doing a wall-to-wall reform that draws in all teachers and places teachers into academy cross-curricular teams, it’s not easy for core academic and other elective teachers to see what role they can add related to careers.

This can be especially tough for teachers who feel under pressure to teach to a specific set of academic standards and may also have students taking high stakes academic tests.

One of the biggest barriers may really be one of comfort with and knowledge about career options. Many teachers haven’t worked outside the education environment, and they simply may not know all of the different and interesting applications of their content in the world of work.

That’s why over the last several months, our team at NC3T has been developing new resources for teachers of core academic and other elective courses. We’re specifically working to help English language arts teachers, teachers of mathematics, science, social studies and history, foreign languages, fine arts, visual arts, and physical education/sports.

The program is called CareerSmart Classrooms. I describe it as “a professional learning program helping teachers and their students get smarter about career options.”

As we’re building CareerSmart, we are developing teacher resource kits for each content area. Each kit provides an easy-to-understand list of careers related to an academic content area. For instance, with English Language Arts, there is a wonderful list of Careers in Written Communications. For teachers of dramatic arts and digital arts, there is a list of Careers in Film, Television and Theatre. For teachers of physical education or athletic coaches, there is a resource kit for “Sports-Related Careers.”

We have also created activity and discussion guides for teacher “think tanks.” These are short learning and discussion opportunities to help teachers learn and grapple with career-related issues.

Just this week, I presented information to educators during the Making Schools Work conference held by the Southern Region Education Board. I gave a sneak peek of the Career Smart Classrooms resources, and I wanted to share this with our online audience too.

Here is the link where you can take a look at what I shared at the conference. We’ve placed them in a LiveBinder that you can access.

Live Binder 

The passcode to unlock the resources is NC3T! (make sure to include the exclamation point)

I would love to hear from you. Do you think these resources would be useful to you and your colleagues? How can we make them better? Would you like to hear more about signing up your school for a school wide professional development for CareerSmart Classrooms? Please email your input to me — [email protected]


Hans Meeder is President of NC3T, the National Center for College and Career Transitions (  NC3T provides planning, coaching, technical assistance and tools to help community-based leadership teams plan and implement their college-career pathway systems and strengthen employer connections with education.

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