South Korean Teachers Visit DACC/Dempsey CBI Class

February 7, 2013

Many of the students in Nicki Wright’s eight grade class had never held a conversation with someone who did not speak English, so when they were asked to represent their class and answer a few questions in front of eighteen Korean visitors, they were very nervous. Nicki is the Delaware Area Career Center Career-Based Intervention Instructor at Dempsey Middle School. When the Ohio Department of Education found out that a group of teachers in Korea wanted to learn more about Career-Based Intervention program, looking to Nicki Wright’s class was an easy decision.

“Nicki Wright has one of the best CBI programs in Ohio,” said Eric Landversicht, a Consultant for the Ohio Department of Education. “Mrs. Wright uses Career-Based Intervention as the first step in preparing kids for a successful career. The goal is that when they leave this program, they will go on to receive specialized training in the career of their choice.”

As part of their visit, Mrs. Wright took the visiting teachers to various job sites at Dempsey Middle School where her students are employed. Asia Hargrove and Raven Cochran are Teacher’s Aides in the building. Roger Postell works in the cafeteria with the head cook, Divenna McKinney works at the front desk as a secretary, and Seth Howard is a Teacher’s Aide in a special needs classroom for Mrs. Peterson. Additional students are placed wherever there is a need, such as in the library and with custodial staff. As Mrs. Wright explained, “We never just make up a job for them to do. They are filling a need for the school, which gives them confidence that they are doing something important and that confidence translates over to other areas of their school and their life.”

With the help of an interpreter, the students explained their job duties and what they learn in these roles. Each job requires a different set of skills, but across the board, each student described how they are learning the fundamentals of being an employee. They must be dependable, professional, have motivation and good communication skills, take the initiative, and demonstrate good customer service. If the students meet the requirements set by Mrs. Wright, they receive a modest income of $1.50 per day for their work. At the end of each 9 weeks, students who have passed all of their academic classes and have displayed good behavior receive a 25 cent raise. One stipulation of receiving this paycheck is that 10% must be put into a savings account. The addition of that one simple rule has opened the doors for these students to learn about banking, personal finances, goal setting and discuss long term savings with their parents. Afterwards, Roger shared that he thought the visit went really well. “It was really different speaking through a translator because instead of just talking to a group of people, it was someone talking to them for me. I think it was really cool that they came to our school in Ohio rather than any other state.”

While the language barrier sometimes proved to be a challenge, the cultural barrier between Mrs. Wright and the Korean teachers was almost non-existent. The group was very interested in what keeps these students motivated to work every day, which is a question Mrs. Wright has heard from many American teachers before. She explained to them, “Once they start working, they enjoy going to work. What they do is valued by the staff at Dempsey and they create a relationship with the staff that both the students and the staff enjoy. Having these jobs also gives their education a purpose. It shows them what they can do someday with what they’re learning today.”

After their visit to the Delaware Area Career Center Career-Based Intervention Program, the visiting teachers went on to tour Eastland Fairfield Career Center. Students completing a Career Based Intervention Program will often continue their education at their local career center. For Mrs. Wright’s students, their local career center is the Delaware Area Career Center.