Life Skills or Academics? Which comes first and which is more important?
I teach adults 18-22 and recently asked them this question. Academics, they all agreed. Academics will get you the job. People care if you’re smart, they told me.
I then showed them this clip from The Middle. Sue and Axl have a life skills assignment. Sue who gets straight A’s and never gets in trouble, came to class with the wrong materials. This leads to a meltdown and Sue’s accepting that she’ll just fail.
Axl, who slides by with C’s but knows everyone in the school, uses all of his connections to create a project last minute. He slides in right before the bell and pulls a surprised Sue to the front of the class to present.
After the clip, I again asked my adults “What matters more? Life Skills or academics? If you had to make a guess based only on what you saw in this clip, who’s going to do better in life?”
The adults answered Axl and life skills. When I pushed for more information they pointed out that he used his connections, called in favors, and was able to problem-solve. Sue, on the other hand, sat in class wringing her hands, playing nervously with her hair, and looking like she was going to cry.
And this is how I got a room full of adults to buy into Social/Life Skills class. Knowing the content of the job you are applying for will get you in the door, being able to do the job will get you hired, but keeping the job is all about networking, connections and life skills.