A lesson plan based on “Doctor dreams” from the October 2007 issue of L.A. Youth. In this story, Jose Dizon describes why he wants to be a doctor and how he has explored his interest in the medical field.

By Mike Fricano, Editor

Grades: 6-12

Subjects: Language arts, life skills

Suggested time allowance: 45 min.-1 hr.

Overview: In this lesson plan students will think about and discuss possible careers.

Students will think about what influences the careers they’re considering.

Resources and material:
— pens, paper
— copies of L.A. Youth article “Doctor dreams” (one per student)
— white board or blackboard

1. On the board write: “Teacher” and “Doctor.” Ask students to list reasons why they think people choose those careers and write those answers under each career. Reasons for teacher might include: like working with students, summers off, job security, a parent was a teacher, a teacher was an influence in their lives, inspirational movies like Freedom Writers or Mr. Holland’s Opus. The reasons for doctor could be: want to help people, money, like science, challenging, a doctor has saved someone in their family, someone they know has an illness that they want to cure.

2. Reading. Have them read Jose’s story about why he wants to be a doctor on pages 6-7 of the October issue of L.A. Youth.

Reading comprehension exercise:
Have them write down the reasons why Jose wants to be a doctor. They should easily be able to identify the three primary reasons why he wants to be a doctor: his favorite show is House; time he spent with his father, who is a doctor in the Philippines; and his volunteering at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. But challenge them to be more specific.

What about House got Jose interested?
–The show featured rare cases that the TV doctors solved like mysteries, which was very intriguing.
–House’s sarcastic personality showed Jose that doctors don’t have to be uptight.

What about his dad’s job influenced Jose?
–His dad’s devotion. His dad answered every call without ever complaining, because he knew that his work was so important.
–How his dad calmly juggled lots of tasks at once.
–The way people treated his dad with respect.
–On the way home when Jose was still tired, his dad seemed ready to do another shift.

What were the best parts of his volunteer work at Cedars-Sinai?
–Working in the Saperstein Critical Care Tower where he was around patients.
–His work contributed to patient care.
–He realized how important hospitals and medical care are to everyone.

3. Discussion: What careers are you interested in?
Have the students share their lists of Jose’s influences and write a master list on the board. Then talk about what current activities, interests or people in their own lives are influencing their possible career choices. Have students write down their career possibilities and what things are influencing those choices. For students who aren’t sure what they want to do, perhaps they’ll be able to more clearly see how their own interests could suggest possible careers.

4. Writing assignment: After reading “Doctor dreams,” sharing their lists and discussing them, have students write an essay in which they write about a career they’re considering with an emphasis on why they’ve chosen that career.

Extension activity
Ask students to research a career or job that they would like to pursue, and present their findings to the class.

Some career-oriented quizzes can be found at the following websites: