What kind of career would you suggest to a high school student who is incredibly gifted in english?I know a high school student who is very gifted in english. Teaching as a career is very...

What kind of career would you suggest to a high school student who is incredibly gifted in english?

I know a high school student who is very gifted in english. Teaching as a career is very discouraging to her because of the problems in education today. What are some other careers that may be interesting?

Expert Answers
hannahshychuk eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As someone who will soon be receiving a Master's degree in English, I understand your student's frustration. English is a subject that is difficult to define, a quality which is both positive and negative. In my experience, people who are gifted in English generally possess a wide variety of skills, but sometimes these skills do not fit under the umbrella of one specific career. Does your student want to pursue a career right away, or is more school an option? For me, the additional time in school (for years as an undergrad, and two in graduate school) really helped me to refine particular skills and decide what I am best at and what careers may be appealing to me. I am now planning on attending law school, specializing in International Law, a field which will allow me to combine my love of reading, writing and research, as well as the skills of analysis and reasoning I developed as an English student. Even if Law is not a career that interests your student, I highly recommend more schooling before jumping into a career. This will likely help her to both develop her skills further, and to learn about what careers may be available to her. I have friends from my English program who are doing a wide variety of things, including marketing, teaching, advertising. The bottom line, I think, is that there are many opportunities available, but what career a gifted English student will succeed in and enjoy varies tremendously.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Teaching English in foreign countries is a great option...however, be sure you tell her to investigate this thoroughly before she goes.  I taught in South Korea for one year, and it was an amazing experience.  However, it would be more amazing for a male than a female simply because of the patriarchal society that defines most of Asia (and the world...) and the Middle East which were the two places that offered the most opportunity for English teachers when I was looking.  There are many restrictions put on females, including, but limited to, driving privileges, rules about traveling alone, dress code, and behavior which is considered taboo in other countries but not in the US.

 DOD schools are great and in almost every country of the world where there is an American base.  The students would most likely be American children of those employed by the military or enlisted in the military, not foreign students.

I would suggest she try writing and publishing!  What an exciting field, and the possibilities are limited.  In fact, if she likes to travel, she could write for travel magazines, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, etc. 

 

carolkaz34 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
What kind of career would you suggest to a high school student who is incredibly gifted in english?

I know a high school student who is very gifted in english. Teaching as a career is very discouraging to her because of the problems in education today. What are some other careers that may be interesting?

A degree in English is one that can transfer to so many other careers; in fact, almost every other profession from business to law to even pre-med has as its base a good foundation in English. 

I would also recommend the student participate in any and all journalism courses and programs available at your school.  While writing for publication and writing an essay are markedly different, working for a publication gives students not only experience writing, but also working with others, a good business sense, and many other life skills too numerous to count.

Good luck!

appletrees eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I'd also refrain from suggesting anything specific until I know what particular skills the student has. Is she gifted in expository or creative writing? Does se have an innate sensitivity to and understanding of literature? Is she a talented editor? Any of these skills would be beneficial in many jobs.

If she wants to write, she may find it hard to make a living at it at first. I'd recommend doing a job that is NOT connected to writing, editing or language, so that she can put quality time into her writing when she is not working. I have found my own writing work suffers when I am teaching English or doing proofreading, etc. I got the most creative writing done when I was working as an art model; a physical job that gave me lots of time to think. You can also do this working as a box office worker, ticket seller or security guard.

 

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would really encourage the teaching as a possible option. Although I can completely identify with your student's struggles with the education system, I think there is space for teachers to act subversively within it to either bring about change or to act within that to transcend those struggles and achieve some real good. I must admit, although being an English teacher is so frustrating sometimes, there are moments of complete joy when I see my students relate to texts that they thought were inaccessible before. These kind of experiences go beyond a price tag.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How and in what way is this student gifted? Does she have an incredible ability to read, discuss, and explicate literature? Does she have a great grasp for the intricacies of the written language including the understanding of grammar? Does she have a gift for writing--fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and etc.? The areas in which she is gifted might help provide a better range of fields appropriate for her.

This student loves to read and write. She is especially gifted at writing stories. She is very creative.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The world is your oyster, as English skill translates to a lot of different careers.  You can consider journalism, journal editing, publishing, online publishing, blogging (which pays well now in some positions).  The need for teachers in the public schools is great in some regions, if you're willing to relocate, or teach any age level.  The need for college level English instructors is not as great right now.  You might also consider, since you're young, teaching English in a foreign country for a while - it's a great adventure.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I will be selfish: Don't give her a choice. WE NEED GIFTED people to become TEACHERS!.  Sell it to her: How many jobs do you know that guarantee you a whole summer off, holidays, federal holidays, and the likes?

I am a teacher with the Dept of Defense and the money is good (until it lasts), plus we get the option to teach around the world. Ask her that no student today in COLLEGE knows how to spell correctly, and that she would be an asset to any institution. Good teachers are everywhere, but GREAT teachers are always on demand.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The world is your oyster, as English skill translates to a lot of different careers.  You can consider journalism, journal editing, publishing, online publishing, blogging (which pays well now in some positions).  The need for teachers in the public schools is great in some regions, if you're willing to relocate, or teach any age level.  The need for college level English instructors is not as great right now.  You might also consider, since you're young, teaching English in a foreign country for a while - it's a great adventure.

clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If the student is gifted in English because she is good at interpretation and analysis of text - I'd encourage her to apply to law school. There are plenty of career options for people with law degrees that include lots of reading and writing - even if the student doesn't want to actually become a lawyer.

I'm currently discouraging anyone from persuing a degree in education within the next 5 years, as getting a job right now is next to difficult.

kapokkid eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It would depend on whether she is gifted in being great in English class or if she is a great writer.  If it is the latter, there are all kinds of careers out there, but it sounds more like she is really interested in teaching...

Teaching in a foreign country is certainly an option, but there have always been problems in education and they aren't going to go away, and if someone really wants to teach, it is at least worth trying.

 

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

How and in what way is this student gifted? Does she have an incredible ability to read, discuss, and explicate literature? Does she have a great grasp for the intricacies of the written language including the understanding of grammar? Does she have a gift for writing--fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and etc.? The areas in which she is gifted might help provide a better range of fields appropriate for her.

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Try to expose her to the different types of jobs available for people who can write well. High school students tend to think of writers only as the people who can write an entire novel. Show her the different types of careers for writers--journalist, free-lance magazine writer, screen play writer, ad copywriter, instructional manual writer, editor....there are so many options.

bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If she has the urge to travel (and especially if she speaks a foreign language), she may want to consider teaching English in a foreign country. The pay would be much higher than in the United States, and she would get to see a different part of the world. Teaching on a foreign U. S. military base would be another suggestion.

lrwilliams eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I feel that even with the problems we are currently facing in public schools that teaching is a great profession for those who have the desire to pass on their knowledge to others. If she truly is gifted in English and has any desire to be a teacher I would encourage her to try it.

rmjengi | Student

I would suggest that you go in the direction of being an English teacher, however if you write well and you like to manipulate the English language, you might think about becoming a writer or a journalist. Now you could do any of these things, it just all depends on what you want from your gift. 

castellensis | Student

PART 2

I'd encourage your student to try out part time jobs which include creative writing. She could write movie reviews for blogs (some pay/some don't). The more creative/insightful she is, the better. If she doesn't like a film and can approach her review with humor without condescension, she'll make a better impression; there are scads of reviewers who do nothing but rip films apart. There are all sorts of review blogs.

You can also encourage her by gifting her with the 2011 edition of Writer's Market. From that, she will glean a great deal about what it takes to become a writer. To my knowledge, there isn't a law that says a person cannot be an English teacher AND a writer.

This suggestion may sound incredibly silly, but please take it into consideration. If your student is a fan of a particular television show or film series (examples: "Stargate SG1 " or "Twilight" saga), there are forums all over the internet where she can write her stories with these characters, post them and ask for feedback. Many popular writers began their careers through this portal! Most acknowledge that writing these stories were fabulous "practice" for real life novels. (I'd be happy to help her find something appropriate if your student is interested in this area.)

Mainly, since you said she is into creative writing, just encourage her to write, write, write! However, PLEASE do NOT EVER FORCE HER!

Thanks for reading, and God bless.

castellensis | Student

PART 1


Sorry - I'm new here; what I wrote was too long for one post.


If your student is particularly good at grammar, spelling, punctuation -- general usage -- becoming a technical writer might be right up her alley. Admittedly, I don't know what they pay these days, so that would need investigating.

There is always a need for English teachers on U.S. armed forces bases/DOD overseas (as someone else suggested), plus, with weekends off, and, depending on your location, you're usually only a few hours by bus or rail from a different locale/country.

I have to honestly say that I disagree with a comment in post #15 (no offense). Because I was an excellent artist, I was FORCED to obtain a degree in fine arts (High Honors graduate).

However, I hated everything about BEING a "professional artist." It wasn't what I wanted to do, yet, I didn't have a clue what I DID want to do because I'd never been asked MY opinion growing up. I could draw, I won a LOT of awards, so it was assumed I'd be an artist. The End. (I don't regret taking classes/earning degrees, because I love learning; it wasn't a loss. It was, however, frustrating, and that's why I would encourage you to NEVER FORCE HER.)

I didn't realize what I truly wanted to do until I was forced, by my health, to retire awhile ago. If I'd figured it out some decades sooner, I'd still be out in the field chipping away with my rock hammer as the geologist I am at heart!

(cont.)

bobkrask | Student

While earning a an English degree (or even just refining key skills through the work an English major produces) may sound very specialized and limiting, as a discipline English actually prepares you for a variety of real world applications.  As a result, selling an English degree to potential employers can seem difficult at first (how does writing papers relate to marketing?), but by focusing on specific skill sets you can effectively communicate your value.

Indeed, communication becomes one of your key skills. Working closely with literature forces you to become detail-oriented, to read for comprehension (both locally and globally), to think critically and analytically to develop original ideas, and then to successfully communicate those ideas through class discussion and assigned essays.

As a result, English majors don't just learn how to read and think about literature; they learn how to read and think period.  And then they learn how to take the resulting ideas and use them to develop concrete arguments based on evidence.

This skill of recognizing key points and then effectively communicating them makes English majors a valuable asset in the business world.

Potential careers include: administration, advertising, copy editing, education, marketing, public relations, publishing, sales, and yes, writing.

In short, knowing the potential career or field in advance isn't nearly as important as learning how to sell the analytical skills that English majors develop.