1101-391 Language and Identity.

Brad Griffith

English 1101-391


Homework:Final Draft

   Teachers have more power than most assume. With the ability to control what a child learns, over a period of time the teacher guides the student along an alternate path. However, this path can’t quite be controlled after the dice have already been rolled. Many of my teachers have all come to the same conclusion that teaching us about the trades was a waste of time but on the contrary I thought the trades were more important than what we were taught to believe. This might be a hard pill to swallow to most, but Matthew B.Crawford might see it otherwise.

   “They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth”. There is definitely truth to this statement because it distinctly expresses the result of a modern day teachers influence. I don’t think it’s intentional but their teachings can  create a world of selfish and arrogant people, who think they don’t have to do anything for anyone else because their the one with the bachelor’s degree or Phd. The reason why I picked this quote is because it directly represents how I feel about today’s society. Where people are in fact arrogant and don’t bother to help the less fortunate. The fact that the quote correlates with my point by making the connection between the influence of modern day teachers and the result of a students future characteristics is further evidence is prove my claim. The path that teachers lead their students on can also create an atmosphere of selfish people who rather think only about what benefits them.  A real world example would be the recent reduction of workers due to new technological advancements which results to more money in the bosses pocket. On MIT Technology review it stats that “In the United States and China, the world’s manufacturing powerhouses, fewer people work in manufacturing today than in 1997, thanks at least in part to automation. Modern automotive plants, many of which were transformed by industrial robotics in the 1980s, routinely use machines that autonomously weld and paint body parts—tasks that were once handled by humans”.

   Now a days, normally in a classroom students learn that working in the trades will be a waste of time. I specifically remember my high school english teacher telling us “Why work in the trades when there are much better paying jobs out there”. This reminds me of a quote Crawford wrote. “So perhaps the time is ripe for reconsideration of an ideal that has fallen out of favor: manual competence”. By saying this Crawford predicted the times were going to change where the trades would be abandoned to a new ideal, where people will get the idea that manual competence can’t provide all the pleasures of life. My point is even though in the past my teacher and many others have made it clear that working in the trades wasn’t a good idea, I’d have to disagree because there might be a misconception on what the trades actually signify. Most people assume it’s just another category of work. However, they actually represent hard work through many trials and uncertainties but success in accomplishing your goal. I’m glad that Crawford wrote that quote because I couldn’t of said it better. Hopefully, the message will be received and society can forget their foolish notion that they can’t achieve all they desire through one disciplinary craft. It’s understandable that not everyone can share the same experiences but here’s why I feel that labor shouldn’t be forgotten. Many teachers had an impact on my life but my father’s teachings will hold the most weight. Ever since I was a boy chores have been part of a daily routine. The amount of construction work my father and I did together could build a whole house but the experiences made me realize that without labor nothing can ever be done successfully.  

    “But we might pause to consider just how hard headed these presumptions are, whether they don’t, on the contrary, issue from a peculiar sort of idealism, one that insistently steers young people toward the most ghostly kinds of work”. I believe this quote was written to symbolize a particular message which stats that the new age of jobs will be “the most ghostly kinds of work”, in other words they’ll lack the roots of labor and manual competence. I say this because the particular message corresponds with my further point about how Crawford and I have similar views on labor and what meaningful work is. Both Crawford and I believe that meaningful work  requires physically challenging tasks and mentally frustrating problems. We also see these problems as building blocks once solved can unlock something more powerful than a computer, true happiness. Which would fuel the employees to work harder everyday to achieve that feeling once again. If people realized that then there would be no talk about how working in the trades can’t sustain you. Although, reading what Crawford had to say on the future jobs, I’m quite unhappy but curious about what the future has in store for me. I’m concerned that my future job will be as Crawford predicts but choosing the quote also made me realize that I can’t allow it to get as “ghostly” as Crawford presumes.  Another thing that Crawford and I have in common is our experiences with a classroom setting. Of our constant reminders on how the trades will never compare to work in a modern day field like computer engineering.

     All in all, after reading his piece, I not only know that Crawford is an excellent writer but I he’s said a few things that make me see him as a time traveler too. He explicitly stated numerous times that the idealism of manual competence will soon be forgotten and replaced by an idealism that like Crawford said “steers young people toward the most ghostly kinds of work”. All of this derives from the main point on how teachers can guide their students to certain paths. They have more influence than we think and because of this many kids are leaders while others are slaves to a check and their greed.


Tags: Crawford

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