Hall 1101-351

Tyler Walker

ENG 1101-351

Vocational education is a necessity in our country, it is an outlet for many students who are undecisive or not as academically capable as others. It is sometimes quite obvious that school and their respective educators want students to thrive and become the best you can be in the future to come. However, what if your dream occupation isn’t as alluring as the commonly glorified careers. Crawford mentions the huge backlash schools’ output towards vocational schools and training. It is apparently considered irresponsible to train and educate young students for the trades, as that field of work can be considered a slippery slope leading to your own downfall.

In my youth, being asked “what would you like to be when you grow up” was the infamous question. Many would respond with police officers, firefighter, doctors, and teachers. No one thought of the mechanics, engineers, factory workers, and electricians. With my experience with education, I was always put on the path of certain areas of study, vocational education was looked down upon and not taught in many high schools I’ve visited. This gave me a considerably negative outlook on extensive manual labor occupations due to the appearance and mentioning of it was scarce, and the praising of high education was elevated. It wasn’t until high school, I was introduced to a vocational craft. During my youth, I did not use my time wisely and wasted away. It wasn’t until my adolescence that that I found something I was truly interested in. Frantically, I joined the game making club where I spent the majority of my time after school. Being immersed with this hobby for my whole junior high school career, I began to realize how passionate I’ve become, and the excitement received from it was surreal. Graduating, I became desperate to search for the same thrill I received previously from my former club. This led to my discovery of STEM and the many fields within it. Finding a school which harbors the extremes to push me, I joined its robotics team, where I was enticed by its mechanical engineering. I have become quite knowledgeable of the field, understanding the hardship that many face, and the pride that they have.

Crawford states, “Today, in our schools, the manual trades are given little honor. The egalitarian worry that has always attended tracking students into “college prep” and “vocational ed” is overlaid with another: the fear that acquiring a specific skill set means that one’s life is determined.”. Crawford’s point is that schools refuses to offer students manual trades. They fear that instead of students attending “college prep” or obtaining vocational skills, the students will harbor a career in a specific trade craft that would determine their life. I agree with Crawford’s point, as previously mentioned, the schools I had attended has not supported the idea of manual trade and rather direct us towards higher education.

Nonetheless, like Crawford expresses, manual trade can allow people to thrive in this economy. Being able to wield a tool will allow you to manipulate more than just your ideas, it will allow you to shape the world surrounding yourself. In Crawford’s view, “The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth”. What I inferred from Crawford’s statement was, trade workers achieve a form of gratification from successfully making something of themselves, which silences others that view their craft. This point allows for society to realize the dedication within these trade craft workers. Also, Crawford states, “A decline in tools use would seem to betoken a shift in our mode of inhabiting the world: more passive and more dependent.”. Crawford’s point is that consumers are very reliant on those who are capable of using the tool for the job. However, they are not willing to pick up that tool to learn how to accomplish that task themselves. Revitalizing vocational education can create a more open future for those willing to take the course.

Crawford states, “The craftsmen is proud of what he has made, and cherishes it, while the consumer discards things that are perfectly serviceable in his restless pursuit of the new.”. In making this statement, Crawford believes that, craftsmen are more possessive of their crafts than the definite consumers due to the meanings and values it possesses. This is because the consumer is consistently searching, never giving the same amount affection and attention as the originator. Allowing vocational education to be taught in schools allows for there to be more exposure for consumers, letting consumers realize the time and effort spent on the items they usually discard. Being apart of the Robotics team I was able to distinguish the importance of our material, how we treasure our belongings is how we would want others to respect it and appreciate the craftsmanship.

Accordingly, vocational education should be revitalized in all schools, it offers a great amount of knowledge to offer to its audience. It opens up a new career path for those who are not interested in a white collar field and want to display their craft to support not only themselves, but those around them. Finally, I fully agree with Matthew B. Crawford and his view of Soul craft and its endeavors.