Skilled Trades

There is something inherently wrong with the education system, even in a country as advanced in Canada. As you might be able to guess from the fact I make a living at writing, I never had much of a problem in the English focused parts of high school. In fact, I revelled in them. However, when it came to shop class, I was a fish out of water. What was the point in learning to weld a custom license plate frame, I thought, when I clearly had no aptitude for it?

I was certainly glad no one forced me to take those classes over and over again, year after year. As an adult, though, I have often wondered how it felt for those students for whom the school experience was the opposite. Making them read Shakespeare was a lot like torturing them; they would rather have read the schematics on an industrial mixer. And yet, year after year, they were forced to take English, Social Studies, History, and a variety of other ill fitting classes.

The problem I have with this is that in the real world, the skilled trades often pay as much as or even better than those occupations for which the academic portion of school prepares us. And yet, there is clearly a higher value placed on one sort of education than the other. Why force students who have a gift with their hands to suffer through course after course focused on academics? No one would dream of making a future doctor attend shop class for more than half of their school career, learning about the various cooling water treatment chemicals and other tricks of the trades.

So why force a gifted trades student to take English? No one can really say for sure. What is for sure, though, is that people gifted with their hands certainly have a place in the real world, outside of school. Skilled trades people are in demand more today than ever before. If you didn't do well in French, you are by no means limited to selling aquarium supplies at Wal-Mart for the rest of your life.

Instead, you can make a great living doing what you love. If you want to do healthcare with children, why not take a look at becoming a paedatric dentist? You can become an apprentice and eventually work for someone else, or even start your own business. The more I think about it, the more I believe schools need to start offering better options to open up the skilled trades to the people who can do them best.

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