How long is a typical session?
A session that is held in the school is usually on a Saturday for three hours from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Sometimes, professionals prefer to do a two-hour session, and that is perfectly fine. And some professionals believe that the best way to do justice to the content and concepts in their profession is through two sessions.
Can I print my materials out on site or do I need to bring everything?
You can print your materials on the site. In terms of managing time, it would be better if you email your material to be printed and photocopied to the school coordinator at least a day in advance.
Will a teacher be there / will they assist if I want to break them in to groups?
There will always be a teacher or a FutureConnect coordinator as assistant facilitator. This person will help you manage the students. She/ he will also help to figure out any logistics related to the building – printing / network / smartboards etc.
What is the age range of the kids?
Currently this program is available only to 7th and 8th graders. Usually there is a mix in terms of gender – we encourage students to go beyond stereotypes. Students sign up for a session based on their interest and are choosing to spend their discretionary time on a Saturday in the school – given this, motivation and energy levels are usually high.
Can I elect to teach an older/younger class depending on my subject?
This program, in its current form caters to only 7th and 8th graders. We hope to extend it to high school students in the next phase.
How many students are in one session?
Students sign up for sessions based on their interest. There can be anywhere between 10-20 students in a session. If you have a preference for a specific size, we can tailor the number of participants attending your session.
Do I need to be working in the field I teach, or can I teach something that I do as a hobby?
Typically, professionals lead a session on a topic that is related to their profession. However, if you are really passionate about a topic unrelated to your profession and you spend a significant amount of time on it, you can absolutely lead a session on that topic. Our objective is to expose students to as many different professions as possible. If some professionals have a day-time job, while exploring a passion, that is also a reality we want students to be exposed to.
Can I take the kids to my place of work, or do I have to teach in the classroom?
Students love to visit work places and get a better understanding of how organizations work. Of course, the logistics for taking students to a work place are more involved, but we can figure out ways to manage logistics with enough prep work.
Can I teach the same session in different schools, or should I change it up for the second session?
We would love it if you can lead the same session in multiple schools. Even if you yourself cannot lead another session, it would be great if you could ask a colleague to do a similar session in another school.
What equipment / resources will be available during the session?
Typically, you will have access to a smart board and multiple laptops. We can also provide for a document camera. If you prefer to use your own laptop for any presentation or showing a video, do let us know what kind of ports your laptop has – we can have the necessary adaptors ready.
If you plan to show any videos on YouTube, do let us know. Many public schools do not have access to YouTube, but we can figure out how to show appropriate videos from YouTube.
Depending on what activities you are planning for your session, you might need different materials. Pencils, markers, chart paper, scissors etc. are easily available in most schools. In the past, we have bought Lego pieces, plastic tubes, play dough, pipes and other resources for specific sessions.
Am I allowed to take pictures to record the session?
Only the FutureConnect coordinators and / or the teacher from the school are allowed to take videos and pictures during the session.
Are students allowed to use their mobile phones during the session?
Students are usually not allowed to use their mobile phones during a session. However, if you need them to use their phones for a specific session, do let us know in advance.
I am good at what I do, but I have never taught students. What help can I get to create a session that would be interesting to middle school students?
If you already have ideas of what activities you can do with students, that is great. If not, we will brainstorm with you to come up with a set of such activities. We can do research to figure out what is available online that can be used in your session. Most importantly, we want to keep it simple, so that it is not too much work for you and it is accessible to students.
Am I allowed to share my email address with the students? / Am I allowed to ask students for their email addresses?
We would love for students to follow up with you and network with professionals. Sharing emails will depend on the school and its policies. We will let you know when you arrive at the school.
How much time do I need to prepare for my session?
As we do more and more sessions, there is a high chance that some other professional in the same field might have done a similar session. You can use the session that has already been created or you can create your own session. If you are creating your own session, we will work closely with you in the planning. You can expect to spend about two hours in preparing for the session.
I have never taught kids before. What do I need to keep in mind? Are there any Dos and Don’ts?
Kids love to work on hands-on activities. It is best to break these activities into small chunks instead of one long activity. You can break up activities with videos and discussions. In our experience, it is better to start the session with an activity instead of a talk.
Kids love to talk! They never seem to tire of it. You can use this by asking them to discuss an issue in a small group of three or four and then call on a person from each group to give a gist of what they discussed.
We would love for you to talk to the students about your profession. Usually it works well if you introduce your profession with some anecdotes to pique their interest, tell them a little bit about yourself, and then give them the opportunity to ask you questions.
Like we said, kids love to talk and it is always a challenge to get their attention back. What works well is to set an attention mechanism right at the beginning of the session….it could be a chime, or a clap, or raising your hand. Don’t be afraid to be firm (in a nice way) when setting your rules.
I just want to come and talk for an hour or two? Will that work?
In our experience, students are most energized and engaged when there are hands-on activities punctuated with videos and discussions. We realize that planning a session with hands-on activities needs more prep – but it will be a lot more rewarding for the students and for you.
Will I get feedback / Will my session be evaluated?
At the end of the session, we ask students to fill in a brief feedback form to give us an understanding of what works and what doesn’t. We can communicate this feedback to you.
What do I get out of a FutureConnect session? What have professionals liked or not liked about these sessions?
Professionals who lead a FutureConnect session find it rewarding and satisfying that they were able to share few essential ideas to students in an engaging way. Students have high energy and their energy is definitely infectious. Leading a three-hour session does take physical and emotional energy – but professionals walk away more energized about their own profession.
Most professionals are pleasantly surprised by how thoughtful, sharp and creative students are in grasping new concepts, coming up with ideas, and making connections with what they already know.
Sometimes professionals find it overwhelming to face so many students when they have never worked with kids before. We will help you navigate this and with some session prep and planning, you will find that it is not as daunting as it might seem (the key is to keep them occupied with doing, talking or thinking).
Can I reach out to other professionals who have done a session before?
We can definitely put you in touch via email with other professionals who have done a session before.