Sunday, May 22, 2011

Real Work

A friend of mine posted THIS LINK up on her Facebook page in honor of her husband. And I LOVED it. I loved it even more when I went and read THIS entire testimony, by Mike Rowe, later, when I had time.

And I thought I'd to it add a little rant of my own. It comes in several parts.

#1) I think school is over sold. I mean, really, it is getting too full for it's britches. I believe that "school" has an inflated sense of self.

School has it's place, but practical, get into it EDUCATION is far more important. When I was in 5th grade, I had a teacher who was a little crazy. In the very best way. We would study things holistically. When we studied Mesopotamia, we read writings from then, stories written by them, dressed like them, cooked like them, ate like them, even went to school like them...sun-up to sundown, one day. I've never forgotten any of it.

You can make me read books about stuff until my face turns blue, but send me out to actively get involved in it, and I remember and appreciate it.

I can go to the grocery and buy my food, but kids today don't even appreciate the pre-packed genius anymore...not until they have to make bread from scratch, weed and tend a garden, or can their own applesauce or tomatoes.

I think that we lost a huge opportunity when we went to college. I believe with my whole soul, that we should go back to apprenticeships. Not only would we appreciate our "degree" but we would have a solid idea of the rest of our lives! I know SO many people who went to school, went to college, got a degree or two and realized that they hated that job 3 weeks after they started. They had, however, mortgaged their future with debt, and so stay for 30 years. Despising every minute.

Not only would we know before 2, 4, 6, 12 years of education had passed, whether or not we liked our job, there would also be no "learning curve" once that job started. I know very few jobs where you show up the first day and know everything. Even once you get a job, there is usually on-the-job-training. So, why are we in school for years first????

#2) Also, education has allowed, as was mentioned in both links, a snobbishness to rise up between technical, vocational, self-made, and highly educated people. If we were all in the trenches together, I think a sense of the interdependence would be clearer. I certainly have a affinity to teaching math. I cannot put a car together if it breaks. Do we both need each other? Yup. If "I" hadn't had to suffer through 4.5 years of college to get my degree do you think I would be so smug?

I have dreams of learning how to fix my car and learn how to do plumbing and pouring concrete so it would run, not leak, and not look like a kindergartner's plaster of paris project...I hope to figure out some of it. I have a healthy respect of those who learn and do. And anybody who does look down their nose at the "dirty job" workers? My advice, do it your own dang self. What? What is that you say? You can't??? Then SHOW THEM THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE!!!! (And this goes both ways. I know many self-made people scorn those that got a degree, even if that degree was necessary to fix their problems.)

#3) School hurts those that do not learn like Suzy Average. I should know.

The most practical example I can give you? Me. I had planned to go into medicine. Occupational Therapy to be exact. I did TONS of volunteering, and I had a real natural ability. I liked the problem solving aspect. It made sense. I was told by every single person I shadowed that I had a knack for it. Since having Elise, I have asked her Occupational and Physical Therapists stuff, that blew them away, and they had to go do homework on, and even on occasion, shared my conclusions with their peers. True story.

College decided that I should take Physics in order to get this degree. Um. Okay. So I took it. It was not made for me. The funniest part? I failed it the first time. FAILED. What? You feel scorn and pity at my stupidity? I GOT AN A in the Physics Lab (you know, the place where you practically use the knowledge?). It was 25% percent of my grade. AND I STILL FAILED!!!! Do you know hard that is??? I took it a second time, and passed with a C total grade...but I had hurt my GPA to the point that I couldn't get into any OT programs. Even though I was competent in the actual field and in the practical usage of the taught information, I didn't get the "gold star" to actually pursue my passion.

I went into education, ironically. I like to think that I was able to encourage some of those upside-down-thinking people still duking it out with THE SYSTEM.

During which time, I met Darrin. He was a trouble-maker. He had an attitude. He had bad grades. He was surly. He was angry. He was hurting. He had a IEP (Individualized Service Plan) for Special Education. He did horribly in his core classes. He made it difficult for even his peers to learn in class.

Crazy person that I am, I had my 7th graders make tin lanterns for Christmas. They were just empty soup cans that I had them bang holes in with nails. When you put candles in them, they were cool. He never did his work, but I think that the shock of my unorthodox lesson plan, and the opportunity to make the class under us cringe from the racket, caused him to join in. His lantern was intricate, beautiful, and full of truly professional precision. It was the most gorgeous one that was made the 2 years we did it (300 some odd students). I ooh-ed and aahh-ed over it. And he was so embarrassed. But he gave it to me. I didn't have a single behavior problem from him for the rest of the year. I went to shop and asked the teacher there how Darrin was, told him of my pleasure watching him on our project, and was told that he was one of the best students, that he was incredibly technically talented.

So why do we keep removing the vocational/technical programs from our high schools??? Why do we want to beat down these kids who excel with their hands, and make them wallow in their ineptitude with geography until they are 16, at which time they drop out and populate our prisons, because they never had an opportunity to succeed???????

#4) As both the links pointed out, if we did not denigrate jobs that looked like work, and respected them, we wouldn't have class warfare. Or sky-rocketing unemployment. And an unexpected impact? We wouldn't have to import illegals to do it for us and hurt our economy. If we filled our own jobs, then they wouldn't have reason to come over here. We wouldn't have to be putting up fences and law enforcement.

#5) And we could let men be men. Boys be boys. Kinesthetic learners wouldn't have to suffer until the age of 16 or 22... The men we all respect?? They didn't have fancy educations. They did what they had to do. John D. Rockefeller Sr, Steven Spielberg, Bill Gates, Andrew Jackson, Henry Ford, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, The Wright Brothers....(Need I go on???) They made our lives better. What are we doing in return for their efforts? Trapping brilliant people in to learning disabilities and failure. Killing the American Dream.

SO. You may find this odd coming from a woman with a college degree in education, married to a man who has a graduate school dual degree. But if my kids don't want to go to long as it isn't laziness prompting them to live in my basement...I am not married to the idea of school. Get Educated. Work hard. Work Very Hard. Make a difference. Pursue a passion with no illusions of "just deserts" without the time and effort. You will be successful. And I don't care if you have degrees out the wazoo or just a herculean work ethic....

And I will be proud. Very proud.


  1. OOOh, awesome list!!

  2. I so totally completely agree with you. This is one of my soapboxes as well!

  3. ooooh. Ran across this article today and had to come back here and post it.