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Career day at the local school.......................(Starch)

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Joe Brix
Joe Brix Member Posts: 626
I have been asked to speak at our local school's career day. They want me to do 3 sessions, approximately 25 minutes each. The students will be mostly 8th graders.

I'm scared outta my mind! Public speaking is not normally a problem with me, but I am coming up completely blank on what the heck to say. I have no idea how to relate to 8th grade kids, and I can't imagine how I can appeal to them the benefits of a career in plumbing/hvac.

Has anyone done one of these, and could you give me some suggestions??

TIA,

Starch

Comments

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    They'll want to hear

    about the gross aspects of plumbing. What's the best thing you ever pulled from a toilet?
    Retired and loving it.
  • Joe Brix
    Joe Brix Member Posts: 626
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    Seriously?

    Dan, do you think that will inspire these kids - or just gross them out. Maybe I'm being too optimistic, but I'm hoping that I can somehow inspire one or two of them to consider this as a career path.

    Really haven't pulled too many "nasties" out of toilets, at least that I can comfortably discuss in front of 8th grade kids. There was this one cast iron vent stack full of dead squirrels, though..............
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,944
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    You have to combine humor with the enticement of good $$$

    and a career working with one's hands...being out in the fresh air; being the "hero" of the day when you restore a family's heat in a cold snap, As Dan said, make it funny, but give them a History of Plumbing and Heating and HOW important a trade it really is. Assure them that although a College Degree is always going to benefit them and help them have a better life, So is "having a trade." You need to show and tell them about YOUR successes in the trade, the "wealth" that YOU and other successful people have acquired over the years. Tell the girls that they are welcome and that the trade has been opening up to them - big time. Make it fun, make it postive, but keep it real, i.e., "....is this an EASY job kids? No! but anything worth anything in life is NOT going to be easy." Remind them that regardless of what happens politically, or economically in the world....THEIR skills WILL ALWAYS be in demand. Have some simple diagrams to demonstrate the basics of mechanical systems. Tell them how Math, Science, English, and History DO matter and that whether they go in to a trade or go out in The Business world, They NEED to master these subjects. Starch...If you get pumped up - They will. Mad Dog

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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,526
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    Yes,

    tell them about the days of outhouses, and homes with no heat. Tell them about the Dead Men.

    Retired and loving it.
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
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    Tell them why....

    1) Hot is on the left and cold is on the right.

    2) Why the toilet flush handle is on the left side when facing it.

    3) Why the flush handle on a urinal is also on the left side when facing it.

    4) Be yourself.
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557
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    OK, why?

    I never thought about it before. Why are these things on the left and cold on the right?
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
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    Because....

    1) Why is the hot on the left and cold is on the right?

    A. Because in the days when water was first piped into houses as opposed to going out to the well, cold water was it.

    The proverbial cold-water walk-up of Dan's Youth. :)

    Most people are right-handed, they knew, so it was natural that the cold water be placed to the right side of the sink or basin. When HOT water became available, the left side was the only side available for this. Thus a tradition was born.

    2) Why is the toilet flush handle on the left side when facing it?

    A. When the first commodes, "Water Closets" (Thank you Thos. Crapper) were invented, "the chain" to pull was on the right side as you were sitting on the throne... because most people, again, were right-handed. One "pulled the chain" upon completion.

    When the fixture evolved to what we know today with the low tank, the older tanks were still made but placed right on top of the lower casting. The side where the flush valve lever remained was preserved, noted now as being on the left side when facing it.

    3) Why is the flush handle on a urinal also on the left side when facing it?

    A. Most men are right-handed. The right hand is, shall we say, "occupied".

    Now tap. :)
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
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    John

    I agree with Dan and Matt ... give them some humor with the info.

    Borrow from the History Channel. Tell them why we "take a crap ".

    Thomas Crapper made alot chine toilets and when the W.W.1. american soldiers went to use the toilet they " Went to the Crapper " Kids get a kick out of that stuff.

    Like Brad says tell them about Hot and Cold.

    Sprinkle ( pun intended ) some knowledge with humor. The time will fly.

    Go Get EM !!

    Scott

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  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
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    Yes

    Do as Scott says and the kids will say, "He really knows his s---!". Give them the straight p---

    OK, I am out of metaphors. Time to re-load. :)
  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
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  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
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    You inspire me, Scott,

    to B.S. better!

    With apologies to Dan, you complete me.

    :)
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
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    Starch

    I am going to my second career day talk with the 8th graders tomorrow. My first, last year, went well, though like you I started a little nervous. One thing I did right was to print out some 8 x 10 pictures of my snow melt sidewalk. One storm we had the previous year was 18 inches of snow, and the picture I took of my clear dry sidewalk made it look like the Grand Canyon. They thought melting snow at the flip of a switch was way cool. No "work" being a very big interest of the teen world these days. Video games are the scourge of all parents. WW

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  • JaredM
    JaredM Member Posts: 57
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    John,

    I just did a similar career day last week. This was held at the local Community College and the participants were all 10th and 11th graders. My outline:

    -We discussed the perceptions of the room of what a plumber is. We talked about what they have seen on TV (buttcracks and Bubba) and what the reality is.

    -How I personally got into the trade

    -What kinds of work we do.

    -We talked about typical pay scales, starting and experienced.

    -I talked about what I like about my job.

    -I then talked about what I do not like about my job.

    -I brought in some tools and fittings. I showed them a combustion analyzer and a roll of pex-al-pex. I had one of the students come up and hold the roll of pex and the other ones guessed at how many feet the roll of pex contained.

    I did three sessions on a trades panel that included myself, an electrician and an auto mechanic. We had 1 hour for each session. It went really well, I thought. The time goes by quickly so organize your thoughts in an outline style on a piece of paper and don't be afraid to ad-lib or improvise as needed.

    -Jared M

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  • John, I do a lot of these

    and the best thing you can bring to them is yourself. Try to remember when you were in the eighth grade and what was important to you.

    The boys love tools, the girls love stories. Tell them about dog incidents,funny customer stories, and mix into those many situations we have all been in the trade itself. Bring some assorted objects that will give them some education about piping and fittings, nothing too technical.

    Find yourself a costume of some sort that really demonstrates what you do.

    Keep it very light and stay away from trying to convince them they should get into the trade it will turn them off. If you win them to yourself they will want to pursue even more what you do. It really works.

    I will give you an example: Eight years ago I spoke to a group of 24 students boys and girls at a local high school they were juniors and had mostly decided that they were not going to college. I did a little skit on a character I invented called Boobly-Doobly-Woobly (thats my vocational high school student)and how his future after high school went. I then finished with another character called Peter Professional Gas Fitter.It must have had an impact because four of the students in that group have recently finished their training and obtained their Master Pipefitter II liscense. Remember you cannot reach them all, but if you reach just one you are a success. Good luck.
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
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    I took props also

    when I spoke to Max's class once. I worried I wouldn't have enough to talk about or lose their attention.

    I took a bunch of 3/8 copper fittings and pieces of tube and let them build their initials.

    You might have to gear it up a bit for that age group.

    Techie stuff like an infrared temperature gun, laser levels, anything digital.

    hot rod

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  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
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    Starch

    How did it go? I took in my new rigid cable with viewer screen so they could look themselves in the ear. I told them our trade has the best toys/tools. It was fun, and they fed us afterwrds. :) WW

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  • John R. Hall
    John R. Hall Member Posts: 2,246
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    Gadgets...

    Gadgets, and more gadgets. Eighth graders like high tech stuff. You may even want to throw in a few giveaways for kids who ask questions, i.e. go to a novelty shop and get some goofy little .25 cent doodads to hand out.
  • Joe Brix
    Joe Brix Member Posts: 626
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    Wow!

    All excellent responses!!! Thank you all so much!

    I appreciate everyone's willingness to share their experiences, and you have all given me some great ideas. Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!

    I will let you know after it's all said and done how it went.

    Starch
  • Joe Brix
    Joe Brix Member Posts: 626
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    Just got done.....

    ....and MAN did the time fly! I ended up doing one 25 minute session. I stayed at the office until 9 last night putting the finishing touches on it, and I was sweating bullets wondering how I would fill the 25 minute time.

    As it turned out, I didn't even get to everything in my presentation before I was out of time! I talked about service vs. new construction, a little history of plumbing, about all the good things I liked about this work, some bad things that I didn't like (but I stressed to the kids that ANY job will have ups and downs), then showed them my combustion analyzer, digital psychrometer, and infrared temp. gun. I let them measure temperatures of things, including themselves!! They thought that was pretty cool. I couldn't believe when the principal came on the PA system to tell the kids to go to their next session. I yelled up to the speaker on the wall, "but I'm not done!" and the kids all laughed.

    They seemed interested in what I had to say, so we'll see. Thanks again to EVERYONE for your help getting me pointed in the right direction.

    Starch
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
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    Would have loved to be a fly on that wall, Starch!

    I could feel the energy from your description. No doubt that they enjoyed it. Post the video? :)

    Brad
  • Joe Brix
    Joe Brix Member Posts: 626
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    You.......

    ....wouldn't want to see my ugly mug, Brad!!!!
  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
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    Oh but

    the kids can, huh? :)

    Seems there is another photo of me lurking on the wall of late, thanks to Andrew Hagen.... wait until I get my hands on him.... :) LOL
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"



    -Ernie White, my Dad
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