As I pondered these thoughts my mind quickly shifted to education and our responsibility as educators to prepare students for the jobs of the future. What are we currently teaching that is no longer needed or obsolete? What jobs are we preparing students for that will be extinct in 5, 10, 25 years? Just as "Pre-Radar Listeners for Enemy Aircraft" seems somewhat ridiculous and absurd by today's standards; bank tellers, travel agents, and newspaper delivery boys/girls will be equally as obscure to our children or grandchildren.
As educators, we have a responsibility to ensure we are preparing students for life beyond high school, Whether students plan on attending college, joining the armed forces, or entering the work force we need to ensure they have the skills to be successful and productive citizens. However, how do we prepare students for jobs that don't yet exist?
Just because we don't have a crystal ball to see what specific jobs will be available to our students doesn't mean we can't give them the skills they will need to take on the challenges of the real world. Problem solving, communication, creativity, and critical thinking (21st century skills) are vital skills for a successful career regardless if you are a log driver of the past or a nanoentoplastoncologiest (completely made up job) of the future.
However, we also need to be cognizant of what is out there being developed. Relying on the adage, "That's the way we've always done it" will no longer suffice. We must challenge our students to be creative and think outside the box, while no longer force them to sit in a seat for 47 minutes a day hoping they learn through a lecture only. Students need to be engaged in their learning and allowed opportunities to explore their true passions. Who says the next award winning nanoentoplastonocologiest isn't sitting in your classroom right now.