The following is a guest post by Ron Stefanski. Ron is the founder of JobsForTeensHQ.com and has a passion for helping teenagers find jobs. He created the website because he feels that teenagers need to focus on their professional passions much earlier in life and aims to teach them how they can do that. When he’s not working on his website, Ron is a college professor and loves to travel the world.
Five Jobs That Help Kids in School
This story will be familiar to high school teachers everywhere. A teenager picks up a part-time job to make a little spending money, but the hours end up being more than they can handle. They become stressed and overstretched. Something has to give. They drop behind on their studies. Pretty soon that straight A student is falling asleep in class and failing assessments. Well, forget that story. The job market for teens is more flexible than ever, and some opportunities may even benefit them in school! Point students in the direction of these beneficial job opportunities, and you may even see an improvement in their performance.
Writing is one of the most critical skills that children learn in their school years. Whether students are below, at, or above grade level, they can all benefit from continued work on writing. There are several digital resources to help students gain writing skills, but nothing compares to practice. A student who earns extra cash with a blog has to have excellent writing skills in a variety of forms, from persuasive to informative.
Successful blogs need consistent content, giving teens the motivation to create a daily writing habit. To make this job opportunity even more beneficial, blogs should focus on a topic that requires research, citations, and planning. Students not only benefit from writing practice, they will gain valuable research skills that can transfer to other areas of study.
- App Development
Many schools offer computer science classes, and the benefits to other STEM courses are apparent. Students who learn to code are better problem solvers, critical thinkers, and develop a growth mindset. Why not encourage teens to profit from this beneficial study? If they are working to develop a helpful app in a computer science class, they can sell that app for passive income. Games and apps could even take on an educational aspect themselves, helping develop study habits or memorize formulas. Technological literacy will soon be a skill that students will need to thrive in our world. Teens who are interested in computers and code should be given every opportunity to practice those skills and explore career options.
- Video Game Testing
Balancing fun, school, and work can be a real challenge for teens, who often make decisions based on instant gratification rather than long term planning. Your average high school student would rather skip homework than their daily Xbox session. Why should teens divide their time when they could be getting paid to play? Job opportunities in the video game industry are popping up for teens as young as 15. If work is the same as play, teenagers won’t be as tempted to skip studying.
How exactly is that helping them in school? Video game testers are doing more than playing a few levels of a new game. They are building creativity. They have to test every move and strategy a player might take in every level. Watching for glitches and analyzing game play requires critical thinking skills and problem solving, skills kids need to thrive in the classroom. Finally, testers write detailed reports of their findings so that coders can fix bugs and glitches. Technical writing practice is great for students.
- House Sitting
House sitting might be the most educationally beneficial job a teenager can take on. Don’t believe me? Try studying in a house where your family is asking you to finish chores, your friends drop by unannounced, and your siblings keep screaming at each other across the house. Life in a family home can be distracting, if not chaotic. Not only is it impossible to get rid of distractions, there are so many familiar habits to fall into. How many times have you sat down for “one episode” of your favorite show and ended up binge watching a whole season?
For a teenager who needs a quiet place to focus, away from distractions, housesitting can be a life saver. When you housesit, you are getting paid to stay in someone else’s home. While they may have some of the same distractions you’re used to, like television, the unfamiliar setting makes it easier to ignore them. Plus, it is generally seasonal work that pays very well, freeing up most of the year to focus on academics.
As a teacher, you know the value of peer to peer teaching. You have your students do it in the classroom all the time. Tutoring is a great job opportunity for teens that helps them synthesize content and develop their own study skills. New digital platforms make tutoring more accessible to students at different levels. Even if a teen isn’t top of their class, they have probably mastered most of the skills that got them through middle school. Teenagers can work with elementary and middle school aged students to help them develop better study skills and master familiar content.
Tutoring is a flexible gig, allowing teens to make their own schedules but often paying significantly more than minimum wage. Plus, they can capitalize on their time by completing their own homework while working. Some schools will even offer opportunities for students to tutor during the school day.
Schools can’t teach everything, and parents want their teens to learn the valuable life lessons that come with work experience. When teens decide to work, it is important that they know there are options that will help, not hinder, their studies.