Sunday, July 7, 2013

Mr. CEU's Intro/Ch.1 Discussion Starter

Two points from what I read stood out for me personally. The first was how the author moved from his office job and started working as a motorcycle mechanic. My interests correspond with his, as I've considered looking into becoming an Electrician and also into tinkering in Small Engine repair on the side, just coming home from school, heading to the garage and problem solving that machine. But I lack the skill or courage to so, especially with a family relying on me for supper. And at 40? But, I never felt so relaxed as during the Summers when I was landscaping, designing and sculpting people's overgrown yards. I tried to start it up here, but the demand for it seems limited in this area.

The other point I found interesting was how more and more schools are looking to push kids into college and phasing out industrial arts. I went to high school in a affluent suburb of Portland and that's exactly how it was. The only students who were ever encouraged to look into the trades or craft fields were those students who didn't do as well in academic classes. That's too bad because as I said above, had I ever been introduced to a trade, I likely would have gone in that direction. But, because the pressure from the community was to push as many students as possible into college, we were discouraged from those options. And this was back in the late 80's.


  1. As I read the introduction and chapter 1 of the book, there were two main points that really stood out and are relatable to me.

    The first was when the author was discussing how he quit his desk job to be a bike mechanic. Although I have not done anything similar to that, my boyfriend has. While I was reading, I couldn’t help but think of him. There were many exerts that I read him as I was reading. I feel like he says some of the same things, and feels the same way, as the author. Tim went to school for business. He got a job as a financial advisor when he finished college. While the money was great, he hated the job. He is now a bike mechanic (bicycle, not motorcycle). He has much more pride being able to fix bikes than he ever did being a financial advisor. He is very talented, but it has taken a lot of hard work and determination. His gets immediate recognition and praise from the people whose bikes he works on. I guess my point is that he went to college, because that’s what you are suppose to do, but his career is now in a field that he did not need to go to college for necessarily, but in a field he finds much more rewarding.

    The second point in this part of the reading that I found interesting was how schools are pushing kids into college. Vocational school was (probably still is) thought of for kids who did not do well in academic classes. I know many these students are now doing quite well for themselves because of the trades/skills they learned in school. Some of them went onto a 2-year college, which further their skills. Schools need to rethink the need for all students to go to college. I would even go as far as saying kids should learn some type of skill, even if they don’t intend on using it as a career choice. With budgets being an issue, I feel like tech-ed and skill focused classes are quick to go. Schools really need to think about the importance of these skills and how they benefit kids.

    1. In Maine there are 16,000 tech jobs that will be open and they say they have trained about 600 to fill them... there is 18,000 technical (machinists, welders) with less then 800 to fill them.

      Yet we graduate college students who are 100,000 in debt with Liberal Arts degrees who can't find a job in Maine.

      This doesn't make sense...

  2. I find as my career has taken its twist and turns that although I remain in teaching my attempt to create teachable moments is my bliss. I found that it has not been about "What I teach" but "How I teach" that gets me to think and imagine. The interesting issue with teaching is trying to see the outcome of your work. Does that student really understand that concept or idea you put out? or did they completely miss it? Furthermore, the idea you are trying to convey and get them to internalize may not be relevant to them until years into the future. Some of the most enlightening moments I have had as a teacher is when some one interviews or speaks to my students. From the mouths of babes... you will find out what you really did or did not do.

    I do have to say creating something in the physical world has value. That is why I have tried to create opportunities for the kids to go from the "virtual" to the real.

    Lastly, I am perplexed at why our society, local, state, national, and community look past the needed jobs to the esoteric "college" job. In reality the students of today will be in jobs that do not exists today. Google, Facebook, Microsoft? were not around when I started school and finished. How could a school possibly prepare me for those careers when didn't even appear in some ones imagination yet.

  3. Throughout the introduction and Chapter 1, Crawford mentions the importance of manual competence. I thought that this was an interesting way to describe one's abilities. We often lump people into categories of being book smart or having common sense, but I have never heard a term that commends people's ability to create or re-create with their hands. I wonder if this is because as the text and others have mentioned the art teaching and fostering technical skills is declining?

    The author quotes sociologist Richard Sennett's belief that "The craftsman is proud of what he has made, and cherishes it..." Our school works a lot with the Habits of Mind curriculum which encourages learners to produce quality work and take pride in what they do. I agree with Sennett's statement and worry if we don't give our students the time to become craftsmen then they will never experience true pride and accomplishment in their work. As Keith has said many times, it's not necessarily what you teach, but it's how you teach and how you guide students on a successful path. Denying them the opportunity to create, work with their hands, learn from their mistakes, and complete something from start to finish is in the best case scenario going to yield many book smart young adults but definitely not many manually competent people that our society desperately needs.

    1. It is interesting to watch students do an activity where there is no "correct" answer. They will look at you because they know how to play the game of school. There is always a right answer the teacher wants they just have to regurgitate the proper one. When I was building computers with my students the Autistic child was able to figure out how the parts connected by there shapes... the Gifted and Talented students couldn't.

  4. It is incredibly sad that lots of school districts (Bangor being one) have eliminated such valuable, hands-on programs from the curriculum. Sadly, it wasn't until STI that I used most of the tools. When I was in 8th grade, "Tech Ed" was taken out of the middle school, and I completely believe that this has hurt students growth. I am part of a generation, as the book explains, that doesn't know how to fix/do little things on my own and would rather pay money (lots at times) for these things to be done. These programs have been taken out of schools because of the push to go to college, but as the book explains a college degree is not the ticket to success in the working-world. One of the units I do with my 5th graders is a career unit. As part of that unit, we visit UTC in Bangor. The skills the students of UTC learn are so valuable. As I tell my students, even if they don't care to be a mechanic/electrician/chef/etc., the skills learned in the UTC programs are skills that can help them be more successful in life (and make their life easier). I think education needs to reassess what our goals are for our students. What can we do to help them be as successful as they possibly can be? Is it right to push everyone to go to college? How can we prepare students to be successful for a future that isn't even a reality yet?

    Secondly, while reading, I thought of an article I have read in the BDN recently ( Teaching is a unique profession because it's tough to "teach" people how to be teachers. The question was raised in the article whether or not teaching is more like a trade, where students need to do an apprenticeship. I find myself feeling that teaching should be taught like a trade. Thinking back to the countless classes I took, that attempted to teach me about teaching. In the end the most useful part of my college education were the practicums and student teaching experiences. In my opinion, student teaching should be a yearlong process so that student teachers can see the process of an entire school year, beginning to end.

  5. That is one of the strange phenomenon in Colleges is a lot of teaching courses are taught by Professors that have never been in a classroom of non-graduate level or college level students. I know of a teachers teaching college classes that graduated college became graduate students / assistants and then Professors. They are trying to teach how to manage classrooms and teach K-12 students. It becomes do as I say not as I do.

    * On a side note... to show you how this type of assignment with a blog helps you with management. I have an email post about each of your comments. I can just read the post in my email or go to the blog directly. I can comment on each of your posts / replies individually. So I never have to track the work down it is either done or not.

    Also I have "scheduled" my post to go on Thursday at 8 even though I have it ready to go now. So you can release "assignments" or work as you want it to go live on the blog.

    GOOD JOB EVERYONE! Even the "Creepy CEU Guy" who has to put up with the Bossy GRAD Chicks!