Supervisors of student workers have the opportunity to teach lessons not found in a college classroom. In the best student work programs, supervisors understand what values may be gained through work experience, and they do their best to ensure that students understand and develop the skills and traits that will complement their academic program. Taking responsibility for a part-time job under effective supervision enhances employment options after graduation.
Work helps prepare a student for modern office culture, and promote constructive employer/employee relationships. Students express ingenuity and creativity, as they are encouraged to make improvements in their job situation. Working students also develop good habits such as consistency, dependability, cooperation, tact and poise, and learn responsibility through meeting work schedules and quality requirements. Students are often able to find jobs that relate to their academic subjects, which further fosters new interests and abilities.
Supervisors, then, have two responsibilities: concern for the development of the student as a employee, and also for the employee as a student. The best supervisors treat their student workers as individuals, and understand that student workers have other interests and responsibilities. They make the work of the student seem interesting, significant, and worthwhile to both supervisor and student.
Implications for Supervision
- The fact that students’ primary goal is their academics does not excuse irresponsibility, but some flexibility in work schedules may be necessary.
- Students are most effective when their work is defined in terms of projects or tasks. When a student is given a specific task defined by objectives and turned loose with the resources and guidance to pursue it, he or she will almost always out-produce students in more traditional settings.
- By understanding the dual role of employer/educator, the supervisor can be instrumental in assisting a student in his or her developmental growth.
- Students may be an invaluable resource for innovative and creative ideas for change or improvement.
Roles and Responsibilities