TOP 7 TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR CHILD CHOOSE SUBJECTS IN GRADE 9 TO GET ON THE RIGHT CAREER TRACK!
Every year, in August, South African Grade 9 learners face one of the biggest decisions of their lives: choosing their subjects for Grade 10, 11 and 12.
In a nutshell, Grade 9’s must choose 3 subjects, in addition to these 4 compulsory subjects of English, a Second Official Language, Maths, and Life Orientation.
As an Educational Psychologist I have been assisting learners with subject choice for over 30 years now, and know the most common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Many parents – especially parents that didn’t pursue a tertiary education or complete Matric themselves– usually don’t have the skills to guide and support their kids through this process, and end up falling into these traps.
Remember: The choice your child makes will not only impact the rest of their school career, but will determine what they can study, the career path they can follow and the lifestyle they will have.
Here are the top 7 things to consider or do – in no particular order.
1. WHAT IS MY CHILD INTERESTED IN?
The saying goes “pick a passion, rather than a profession.” This is because passion usually breeds success.
Too many parents make the mistake of forcing their child to choose subjects they think will guarantee them entry into a particular university or course, so that they can pursue a certain profession associated with status and financial success.
This can be a disaster.
It can also lead to a career crisis later in life or even failure.
It’s important not to exclude your child’s interests from the equation. There are many exciting career options and paths, especially in our world where today’s jobs may not be relevant in the future.
2. DON’T ASSUME THE BEST COMBINATION IS ALWAYS “MATHS, SCIENCE, AND BIOLOGY”.
These subjects are only a great combination if your child actually enjoys these subjects and can excel at at them and needs them.
If your child is struggling and chooses them it can impact their future and hurt their confidence. There are many careers that do not require maths, Science and Biology as a pre-requisite e.g. teaching and law (although maths is an advantage in this case)
Always consider other combinations, especially if they will ensure a better matric pass for your child, giving them the option to pursue teritary education, and a career that suits their abilities and personality.
But do remember – subject combination remains important – the correct combination is necessary to ensure they can pursue their desired field of study.
An option is to consider taking one of these “difficult” subjects, so that your child can focus their energy on mastering one, instead of struggling through all three with poor results.
Bear in mind that “pure” Maths is still a requirement for many courses – including courses in the fields of Humanities. Maths literacy doesn’t carry the same weight. But again if your child won’t manage pure Maths – with extra effort – it can hurt their chances of a good pass in the long run.
3. DON’T FORCE YOUR CHILD TO PICK A SUBJECT BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE A FAST-TRACK TO A CAREER THAT HAS LOTS OF JOB OPPORTUNITIES
While being practical is important, I’ve seen many kids drop out of these subjects or perform poorly e.g. a kid who is not tech-savvy or interested in technology shouldn’t choose a computer science just because a career in the ICT field may be lucrative.
There many other exciting courses.
And remember, as technology continues to evolve rapidly, the available jobs and the skills required to do them can change.
4. YOUR CHILD SHOULDN’T CHOOSE SUBJECTS BASED ON WHAT THEIR FRIENDS ARE TAKING –
Explain to your child that while those friendships may not last beyond high school, their bad choices will.
5. DO YOUR HOMEWORK AND DON’T RUSH THIS DECISION!
Without fully understanding what options are available it’s impossible to make an informed decision. This decision is so critical and shouldn’t be left to the last minute.
Your child’s school may provide questionnaires and may issue a short report with recommendations. However, these questionnaires are superficial at best and don’t take into account any concerns that either you or your child may have.
7. CONSIDER YOUR CHILD’S ABILITY
If your child is probably not going to do well, or pass a particular subject, then you should seriously rethink it.
But if your child is the type of person that has the ability to persevere and is motivated to do the extra work to overcome a lack of “natural” talent then it may be worth sticking to it, particularly if it is a pre-requisite for their career choices.
Too many learners tend to lack passion, perseverance and grit. As a result they have given no thought to any career after they leave school. More than likely they have never made a decision as important as subject choice and they will not fully understand the consequences of choosing the ‘easiest’ subjects.
And often children don’t understand what a particular career entails and what the true prospects are.
I highly recommended that they have a full career assessment mid-year in grade 11.
Contact me for a professional assessment.
I offer these assessments in person or online where the assessment is done at home and feedback given via Skype or phone.
Cost: R 950
This Fee can be claimed from certain medical aids. Includes interest profile report PLUS a 30 minute personal interview and feedback session with Dr. Ken Resnick.
Contact Dr Ken Resnick now!
Dr Ken Resnick offers professional subject choice as well as career advice and assessments.
He is an Education Psychologist with over 30 years’ experience.
He has helped hundreds of learners make the most suitable subject choice.
Cell – 0824490335
How the non-face to face assessments work?
- Dr. Resnick will send you a link to an online questionnaire.
- Your child must complete the questionnaire. (If required Ken can guide your child through the questionnaire using Teamviewer – which you can download for free.)
- The assessment can also be done via Skype.
- Your child will complete the questionnaire, save it and log out. It will take approx. 40 minutes to complete the questionnaire. (The questionnaire can also be completed at Dr. Resnick’s office if Internet access is a problem.)
- Dr. Resnick will provide feedback to you and your child after completion of the questionnaire. The feedback session is approx. 30 minutes.
- At the feedback session Dr Resnick will clarify positive and negative consequences of the various subject combinations. He won’t not make the final decision. That is left up to the learner and their parents. He guides and informs the parents regarding the doors that are open or closed when choosing different combinations of subjects.