Lesson 5: CareerConnect Mentors
Age and grade level:
Goal from IEP connected to lesson:
Objective from IEP connected to lesson:
Purpose of lesson: Use Career Connect mentors to gain firsthand insight from a person with a visual impairment into working in a student’s field of interest.
Materials needed: Preferred note taking device, the AFB CareerConnect site
“Remember we have been working on identifying steps necessary to meet requirements for your preferred career, and thinking about actions you can take now to reach your career goal. Locating a mentor—someone already working in your field of interest who is willing to share their experiences—is a good first step.”
Discussion: The Value of a Mentor
Facilitate lesson with discussion questions such as, “Why do you think it might be important to hear from someone who is already working in the career you’re interested in? Do you think talking to a professional with a visual impairment who has experience in your occupation of interest could be helpful? Why?” Together, consider the value of a mentor in the student’s field of interest. Discuss why firsthand experience can sometimes be more important than information you might read on the Internet or in a book.
Exercise: Questions for Mentors
“Imagine you were in conversation with a thirty-year-old ________ (student’s desired occupation) who also has a visual impairment. What would you want to know?” Have students record questions or concerns they would want to raise with a mentor. Suggestions include workplace accommodations, assistive technologies, the disclosure process, the pitfalls and triumphs associated with the social aspects of working, and any other questions you might have about entering the workforce as a person with vision loss. Also suggest that students develop occupation-specific questions: What makes the job interesting? Why did he or she choose to go into it? What kinds of advice might the mentor have for someone just starting out in the field? What surprised them about the field or job?
Exercise: Contacting a Mentor
Have your students go through the following steps:
- Set up a My CareerConnect Account.
- Read the site’s Tips on Contacting a Mentor.
- Use the CareerConnect Mentor Search to locate four or five possible mentors in the student’s intended career field.
- Compose an e-mail to each mentor. Prompt the student to introduce herself, ask pertinent questions, and thank each mentor for his or her time and expertise. Encourage the student to seek counsel on work experiences that will prepare her for the career.
Discussion: Benefits of Mentoring and Mentorship
Ask the students how they anticipate mentor relationships being beneficial and if they would like to one day act as mentors to high school students.
“Today we found and contacted mentors using AFB CareerConnect. Please let me know when you receive responses. Next time we will begin planning for a work experience this summer.”
Progress notes, data collection, comments, modifications:
Next steps/lesson: Planning for a summer work experience.