Growing in Confidence Through JA BizTown®

Posted in: JA Impact

One of the most rewarding parts of our work is getting to hear about the immediate and long-term impact that results from students’ time with JA. Here’s just one of the many responses we receive from educators and students, alike. This teacher brought her 6th grade class to JA BizTown® a few weeks ago and had to say this:

Dear Junior Achievement:
I just wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what an impact our visit to JA BizTown® in Tempe made on two of my students in particular. We visited the town on Oct 13, 2014, after rapidly moving through the reorganized instructional material. (There are SO many terrific lessons in there that my team agreed that we want more time before the “experience” to do more of the “optional” lessons.)
Our 6th grade students prepared for their interviews by learning how to tie a necktie, shake hands correctly, and by holding practice interviews. They were ready, but nervous! After the jobs were assigned, one of my young ladies came to me with a concern. (She has always been a special education student who struggles in all academic areas but has terrific people skills. Her reading level is at approximately 3rd grade.) She confided in me that she didn’t think that she was going to do a good job and would not understand what to do at Biz Town. She had been selected for the newly opened Banner Health Center as their “Physician.” (I think that finding out that the word meant “doctor” really scared her!) I assured her that she would be just fine, and that I would make sure she knew what she was doing. I reminded her that she can ALWAYS do things if they are demonstrated to her, so she WOULD be successful in this endeavor.
The other student, also assigned to Banner Health, as the Physician’s Assistant was my newest student who just moved to the United States from the Philippines the week before school started. She is in our ELL (English Language Learners) program. She showed up wearing full hospital scrubs and ready to work!
It was perfect that I was able to walk my “physician” through the requirements of her job. I then discovered that she would need to “train” our other limited English student on the job in order for her to take a break. You should have seen the cooperation and the work that went into that office!
Two of the other girls at that “office” are my adorable, but ADHD poster children. They had the responsibility of booking students for their “appointments” with the knowledge that if they booked a minimum of 10 that actually showed up, they would receive a bonus for their office. These girls not only booked 10, but hunted down the “red shirt helper” and talked them out of 4 additional shirts after I told them that I didn’t think they could have more. (They are pretty sure they could have done 20 appointments in their sessions!) My “physician” was having so much fun that she ate her lunch quickly and came back early to “work.”
I can’t thank you enough for helping me to give confidence to these students. You can’t “teach” confidence; it has to be earned. These girls EARNED it! I know in these hard economic times, especially in education, that there is NO WAY we could afford to pay what this experience REALLY costs! What all of you do in helping my kids learn how to handle their future lives is amazing!
Thank you, from a grateful teacher!!

Share your JA experience with us – what impact have you seen on your students’ or children’s lives?