For Monday, Oct 1

Remember there is an exam on Oct 10. If you miss it, you fail it. You need a VERIFIABLE EXCUSED absence (not just “hey something came up” but a doctor’s note, court summons, etc.) to take the exam at a later date.

For Monday:

  1. print out, read and annotate STUDENT ESSAY ONE  in files  (Click HERE to be taken to the FILES page). The text of the essay is also listed below, but I would like you to print it out from the files page please, so that we are all looking at the same page numbers.
  2. write a one page story of your relationship with a monster to bring to class on Monday. This can be a non-human monster (Dracula, the Cookie Monster, etc) or a human monster (maybe you were obsessed with reading about Hitler) but it should be ONE monster, and it should MATTER to you. You can write, like Lynda Barry did, about how your family talked about this monster, you can describe the monster in detail, you can write about how you hid under the covers, you can talk about what the monster did, whatever. One page. Handwritten or typed.


Here is the student essay:


Vocational Skills

Living in a world where both white collar and blue collar jobs exist, it is important to not favor one over the other, but to incorporate both to benefit workers as well as students who will soon become workers. White collar jobs are those of administrative skills while blue collar jobs require physical labor as well as manual skills. One collar is not better than the other, they both help the economy and give individuals jobs to make a living according to their skill set. Reintroducing vocational skills in schools will better prepare students for the real world and allow the to have more opportunities with multiple acquired skills.

Manual labor has changed over the course of time due to the introduction and development of technology. The need for manpower is not as greatly needed today as it once was before as the result of new development in machinery, which now requires less manual operation affecting the population of blue collar jobs as there is less of a need for physical labor. Crawford emphasizes that “the degradation of work in the last century is often tied to the evils of technology in one way or another.” It is for this reason that blue collar jobs are not seen as useful or more popular compared to white collar professions. Our world has become so technologically advanced that we solely rely on technology and the need for manual labor becomes less and less with every passing year. We forget that years before technology, our ancestors used their hands to get the job done and there was no separation of professions as white or blue collar, work was work, mostly all of which was manual labor whether it was working on the farm or creating tools by hand.

With manual labor comes of course a possibly higher salary to pay employees. Labor time is not of importance in the eyes of employers, but rather the amount of money they have to spend on their employees. To work manually requires lots of time, patience and practice. To be a man of manual labor also comes certain required skills and oftentimes a certified degree to show proof that one holds the skills necessary for the job. Crawford puts this as “the concern is rather with labor cost,” in the eyes of the employers instead of labor time and because of this skilled workers are being replaced by unskilled workers since they operate at a lower rate of pay. To operate factories in these conditions is becoming the new reality of today, our blue collar jobs are disappearing as a result of not continuing to instill vocational classes in schools.

In schools today, “manual trades are given little honor,” as stated by Crawford. Crawford continues to agree with this statement by pointing out there is a “fear that acquiring a specific skill set means one’s life is determined,” which is certainly not true. One’s life is truly never determined until they decide it is. The purpose of shop class is to not force students to become blue collar workers, but rather to give them more skills to add to those they already have. In addition, students can learn a new craft that might adhere to their liking and possibly give them a new purpose for a career path to follow. To be apart of a vocational skill class gives students new opportunities to learn more about themselves and to appreciate the work they put out into the world no matter how big or small it may be, just as Crawford realized while working as an electrician. His work was never seen because it was behind the walls, but once the lights came on he was able to see how much his work was appreciated by others.

From personal observation, I have noticed that many other places outside of New York City incorporate vocational skill classes without the institution having to be a trade school. The primary focus of a vocational skill class is to have students prepare for a specific work or trade as one of cousins did. While in high school, my cousin who lives in Pennsylvania took a woodworking class that was designed to give students the chance to work with their hands. Students were graded not so much on what their final project looked like, but the amount of effort they put into their work as well as the skills they used to create this work. Moreover, my cousin had no interest in woodworking until he took this class, his career goal was to be a sheriff which is what he is continuing to pursue. He was able to create works that he never thought were possible for him to do such as a birdhouse and a corner shelf. With this new acquired skill, my cousin can make a side job or even a hobby with his woodworking skills.

Both blue and white collar jobs have value to society. It is our blue collar workers who manufacture, engineer, and even build the structures where white collar jobs exist. Our white collar workers often times hold the administrative office positions that operate many of the blue collar companies and factories. “If genuine knowledge work is not growing but actually shrinking, because it is coming to be concentrated in an ever-smaller elite, this has implications for the vocational advice that students ought to receive.” In making this argument, Crawford supports the need for vocational skills to be reintroduced to students because blue collar professions are disappearing and there is a need to reinstall genuine knowledge into schools today. With genuine knowledge comes genuine passion, something every person should have regardless of their collar of profession. There needs to be a balance of individuals in each collar to not have either one disappear, as a result there can be a decrease in the need for artificial intelligence and an increase in workers.

Reintroducing vocational skills classes in schools can provide students with many opportunities outside of white collar professions. Being able to learn a specific skill is not a bad thing, it is something to be proud of to say you have mastered a specific skill that many others have not got the chance to master. Better preparing students with manual skills, leads them to have a brighter future. In a world like the one we live in today, being multi-talented in different fields of work is beneficial, vocational skills can just be one of many starting opportunities.



Essay One Due Sept 24

Hello, everyone– essay one is due BY CLASSTIME on Monday. Please cut and paste a copy of your file to this website HERE.  Note that below the text box there is a small box that says “tags.” Please add one tag that says “Crawford.” Please add another tag with your name. Please also bring a paper copy to class.  The essay prompts are listed in the post beneath this one (For Monday Sept 17.) You will choose ONE of the four prompts.

Your essay should:

Answer one of the essay prompts

Be at least 900 words (this is approx 4 pages typed and double spaced in a 12 point font.)

Have AT LEAST two quotes by Crawford (though I suggest more) that you introduce, summarize, and–most importantly– analyze. If you feel confused about what this means, look over the quotation handout. Remember, your reader needs to know WHAT the quotes mean to you, WHY you’ve chosen the quotes that you have, and HOW you feel about those quotes. I’m not looking for the “right” answer. I’m looking for YOUR answer– I want to know what Crawford’s writing means to you. I want to know how you feel about work, education and labor.

Be organized. This is going to mean different things for different people, but if you get stuck, you can think about the P-I-E structure we talked about in class. That is, in each paragraph, you want:

P-Point (what is the main thing you want your reader to take away from this paragraph?)

I- Information (how can you support this point? You don’t need to prove it, necessarily, but if you’re making a claim that blue collar labor is more lucrative than white collar labor, how can you convince your reader of this? you can’t just throw that out there and hope it sticks! You need something from the news, or something from personal experience, or a quote from Crawford that helps support this point.)

E-Explanation. (Why is this information important? How does it relate to your point? You need to explain to your readers what you mean! If you use a quote, you need to explain why you chose it and how you feel about it. Same with a story from your own life.) 

Try, too, to think about how your paragraphs string together. What points best follow the others?

Also, make sure you run spell check! Also make sure you indent properly between paragraphs! 

For Sept 17- Rough Draft Due

  1. As always (and as stated in the syllabus) if you show up to rough draft day without a rough draft, you will get marked as absent! This is because we just can’t do the work without it!
  2. Print out your rough drafts.

OKAY, HERE’S THE HOMEWORK (there are 3 parts, so keep reading!)

First, I would like you to write 2 pages (typed, 12 point font of a normal size) of what we are calling a “Sh&^tty First Draft.” According to Anne Lamott, in a “Shitty First Draft,” you, “let is all pour out and then let it romp all over the place, knowing that no one is going to see it and that you can shape it later… You just get it all down on paper because there may be something great in those crazy pages that you would never have gotten to by more rational, grown up means.” When she describes her process, she says: “I’d start writing without reining myself in. I was almost just typing, just making my fingers move.” What I’m saying here, is: write. Don’t worry about it too much. Get started.

So what should you write about? You’ll be writing about “Shop Class as Soulcraft, of course.” Please choose ONE of the following four essay questions and write about it for at least two pages. Print it out and bring it to class.

  1. Do you think that schools should reintroduce vocational skills classes to prepare students for opportunities outside of white collar professions? Why or why not?Be sure to get specific—use examples from your own life, the lives of those you know or the media. Also, make sure your own claims are in conversation with Crawford’s (that is, if you make a claim that blue collar labor is useless, then find a quote of Crawford’s on the subject of blue collar labor with which you can agree or disagree.)
  2. Crawford says,” The hard-headed educator will say that it is irresponsible to educate the young for the trades, which are somehow identified as the jobs of the past.” How have your experiences with education affected your own feelings toward labor, and how is this similar to or different from Crawford’s opinion on labor?Be sure to GET SPECIFIC—both in quotes from the text, and in personal experiences and beliefs.
  3. How does your community feel about the dichotomy between “white collar” and blue collar labor? Where do you think these biases toward one type of work come from—and how do they compare to Crawford’s biases? Note: it is up to you to define “your community,” but you will need to define what group of people you are talking about—your family? Eastern European immigrants? Etc..
  4. What effect does Crawford’s writing style have on you as a reader? How does his use of vocabulary and sentence structure add to or diminish from his main argument? You can think here about whether you can “read between the lines” That is, are you learning one thing from what Crawford says, but something else from HOW he says it? AGAIN, as always, be specific, using quotes from the text

(part 2) PLEASE ALSO READ AND ANNOTATE “‘As He Himself Puts It’ The Art of Quoting,” which I handed out in class.

(part 3) PLEASE CHOOSE AT LEAST THREE QUOTES FROM “SHOP CLASS” THAT PERTAIN TO THE ROUGH DRAFT OF THE ESSAY YOU’VE WRITTEN IN PART ONE. This will be helpful to you in writing your final draft. In other words, if you’re writing about Crawford’s style, find three quotes in which his style seems worth discussing. If you’re writing about blue collar labor, find three quotes about that. You don’t need to do anything with them, but you WILL need to use them in class on Monday, so have ’em marked clearly!

For Sept 12

Dear 1101ers,

We don’t meet again until Sept 12– this time on a Wednesday schedule.

For homework, Using the plan for rereading you wrote in class, I would like you to REREAD Shop Class as Soulcraft (link is in the last post.) Take care to set yourself up in a place that will be conducive to good reading– play music if it helps, or stay quiet if that helps. Take breaks! Eat snacks! Use context clues to understand your vocabulary! Use a different color of ink to annotate this time. I will be collecting your articles at the end of this unit, so… don’t sleep on the reading, don’t sleep on the homework, don’t sleep on the annotation. I noticed some people in class hadn’t annotated at all (though many of you had.) It is really too early in the class to get behind, friends! You need to do this work to get a good grade on this unit and to write this paper.

PART TWO OF HOMEWORK: In your notebooks (you can type it and put it in there if that’s easier for you,) write 350 words at least of what you learned from rereading. USE AT LEAST TWO QUOTES  to illustrate your points. That is, if you say that you learned something about the ways blue collar work was devalued in America, please pick a quote by Crawford that explains your point, and– most importantly, EXPLAIN CRAWFORD’S QUOTE IN YOUR OWN WORDS.  This is important because we all read differently. YOUR readers are going to want to know what Crawford’s writing means to you.

PART THREE OF HOMEWORK: In the discussion forum on the Open Lab, write one SPECIFIC question you still have about the article. Link HERE