Once you have finally completed the planning and preparation for a job for your students in a school or community setting, the last thing that you may be thinking about is data collection. This is such an important and necessary aspect of the whole experience. It gives us the opportunity to adequately support our students and give meaningful feedback to them, ultimately making the job a more successful one. At the age that I teach, I love to change it up and put the data collection back in the student’s hands. In a job setting, I think it is a great chance for students to do most of the data collection themselves. They are able to use the data sheet like a checklist and, at varying levels, evaluate their own job performance in the moment and improve it in the future.

Classroom Jobs

The first way that we might teach this way of taking data is through classroom jobs. This could include classroom cleanliness jobs like wiping tables, sweeping, cleaning white boards, and putting materials back in their designated places, all of which translate to a real world setting. I have created a student completed checklist with a little counting practice thrown in to focus the student, improve time management, and encourage a little self-analysis. 

Classroom based jobs could also include more office type tasks, like being a messenger, delivery person, shredding, secretary (phone answering), and one of my student’s favorite jobs: MAKING COPIES (please excuse the shameless SNL reference). Data collection for these types of jobs can be as simple or as complex as necessary to meet the needs of the student.

On Campus Jobs

An exciting development on our campus is the new addition of a coffee business for our students. We have just opened The Friendly Bean and our campus is buzzing about it. Even though we are only serving teachers currently, we hope to expand to the student body over time. With new opportunities come NEW DATA SHEETS! Each student with have the opportunity to read a coffee order (submitted through a google form), complete the order by making the coffee and adding the desired cream/sugar (measurement!), push the cart to the correct room (number sequence/map skills), have an appropriate communication exchange, and take the money for the goods provided. It is such a data rich experience! This data sheet is going to go with the cart and it will ensure that students get to practice all of the different aspects of the business.

Off Campus Jobs

While many of our students have off campus jobs that are unique to them, we also have a large group job that many of our students to together. We go to a community sports complex close by and generalize many of the skills that we have learned during our on campus opportunities. The students have an opportunity to sweep the courts, wipe tables, correctly arrange seating, restock the snack bar, and collect and sort the lost and found. They can also enjoy a bit of leisure time after the work is completed, if they have earned it. I think that this opportunity for self reflection is often eye opening. In my experience, our students on the spectrum are often very critical of their job performance and do not reward themselves if they have not done a good job. This will hopefully prove to be a positive trait in future job settings.

As you may have noticed, I am passionate about getting my students into job type roles. I cannot wait to see how they will grow into working adults, whatever that may look like for them individually. If you would like to follow our journey at The Friendly Bean and see other aspects of our classroom, follow me @ausometeaching!

Meredith Walling

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