This unit represents part of a year long goal to make my students more aware of the numerous realistic career possibilities they can choose from, along with the special skills necessary to obtain the job they want. The focus of this unit is by design on the workers themselves and on the reality of working class life in America today. The first half of the essay concentrates on issues and events which have shaped American working class consciousness as it exists today and the reasons for the failure of those workers to form a social tradition and political culture of their own. The second half is a subjective description based on published interviews with workers about their daily search for meaning. This section of the essay reflects the monumental work of Studs Terkel’s “Working,” an 800 page sharing of American worker’s feelings about their jobs and their lives in general.
(Recommended for 9th grade Urban Studies and 10th and 11th grade United States History.)