19 December 2014

"Blue collar workers are people with brains, too!" a young academic realizes...

Your Waitress, Your Professor - NYTimes.com: If my students can imagine the possibility that choosing to work with their hands does not automatically exclude them from being people who critically examine the world around them, I will feel I’ve done something worthwhile, not only for those who will earn their degree, but for the majority who will not.
I think her conclusion is good, but these sorts of revelations by the academic set are always very amusing to me. (Remember when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton blurted out that we need to realize waiters are people, too?)

Who was it that ever taught or believed that "blue collar workers" were incapable of critical thought? Who was that ever believed education was only valid as a means toward better-paying, and less "dirty" work?

"Why, when I was a boy..." my teachers all had other jobs in the summer; not because teacher pay was so scandalously low, but because why would you not? Work is noble, it is what adults do to sustain themselves and their families. Because idle hands are the devil's workshop.

My geometry teacher was a carpenter and handyman. He once built a pergola at my uncle's house. My speech teacher had a wallpapering business in the summer. My shop teacher painted houses with his son.

Not one of them was in any way ashamed of this work, nor did they try to hide it. The geometry teacher used his work to answer that ageless question from his students, "when will I ever need to use geometry in real life, anyway?"

Try to measure and cut wood for framing without geometry!

I do hope young Brittany Bronson teaches her students not to be narrow-minded, elitist snobs. I am even more heartened that she finally figured this out for herself, and I dearly hope that she goes back to teach her own mentors this lesson.

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