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Things You Wish They Taught in School

Banes at 12:00AM, Sept. 9, 2021

I've had the conversation multiple times - maybe based on something I read in the past - that the
business of taking care of your money, your credit, taxes and expenses is something that was never touched on when I went to school.

Well, these have been proclamations rather than conversations. I boldly state that this stuff should have been taught in school, and the listener either nods politely, excuses themselves, or puts down their weapon and goes off to rob someone else.

Formal education has its purpose of course. The mechanics of reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as early exposure to the scientific method, history, and possibly the arts and so on is valuable and not material that all young people will necessarily be exposed to.

There are other mechanics of life that vary from location to location. In theory, a school that's located in a certain place could teach the particulars of that city or town, like how to get a driver's license or other identification, how to replace lost I.D, or more general knowledge like what to do if your property is stolen. How do you get married or divorced? A lot of this stuff is picked up by parents or friends, or the institutions of government, or these days, online.

But what about the bigger questions? Some things - like finding our passion or meaning in life, choosing a partner and so on - those are an individual journey of discovery. Although education can help with the skills to figure it out, and showing possible pathways.

Other things, like handling our own anger or that of others, or an abusive friend, partner or stranger, how and when to stand up for ourselves or others, how to be strong when you're alone and right and how to realize when you or the people around you are wrong, and a hundred other things along these lines - I believe this is where the power of story exists.

Fiction tells us how to live, or how not to live, by dramatic examples that we may or may not see in real life. Or if we do see it for real, we may only see one flavor of behavior.

What do you wish they taught in school?
What are the lessons you've learned from stories, either as a kid or later in life?

This was a bit rambly, apologies for that. I wish I'd paid attention to the lessons on not rambling!

Have a good one,




rmccool at 3:14PM, Sept. 10, 2021

I needed tools and how to fix and repair and patch. The biggest problem with my education was they prepared me for a world that no longer existed by the time I graduated..

TENSA1 at 10:47AM, Sept. 10, 2021

In my experience, school has mainly served the purpose of training people who function a specific way to get into specific jobs and those who operate differently and have different passions are kinda left to suffer and be systematically told they're stupid/lazy. I know everything I ever learned was taught outside of a classroom.

Tantz_Aerine at 10:30AM, Sept. 10, 2021

Just popped in to say that the title and image combo is GENIUS. That is all. XD

Furwerk studio at 9:08AM, Sept. 9, 2021

I honestly wish they would teach kids that movies are just fiction, they are not real. It sounds funny, but I have met so many adults who think movies are real it is scary.

Banes at 9:02AM, Sept. 9, 2021

@Paul - for sure. Critical thinking was a good chunk in some of my favorite English Lit classes. Even learning on our own, we can still get a helpful framework or deeper understanding from english lit classes, science classes, and psychology. It's nice to understand some of what we're going through as we're going through it, so...'the more you know' i guess xD

PaulEberhardt at 7:33AM, Sept. 9, 2021

@Banes: this is to say, I still think you've got a point with some things. Mental strength and agility can't be taught, but they can be given a push to get going. It's something us teachers are supposed to do - and some of us actually try, at least.

PaulEberhardt at 7:31AM, Sept. 9, 2021

Btw. that's what gave me the idea about "criminal resolve" earlier on: the concept that something a grown-up has written isn't always entirely trustworthy often takes quite a while to sink in. It almost gives me a pang of guilt to teach them that, but then I don't want to see them fall for every single piece of utter crap found e.g. on YouTube. And believe me, they do!

Banes at 7:25AM, Sept. 9, 2021

@Paul - I agree and after thinking more about this last night I suppose there are many things that are better taught by life. It’s more fun and probably better for building our mental strength, agility and resolve and so forth.

PaulEberhardt at 7:24AM, Sept. 9, 2021

There are some vague efforts to make "media literacy" a new subject, and I'm totally supporting that. That is, I will as long as it supplements my own subject (geography) instead of being an excuse for the pencil pushers to reduce lessons in subjects like mine again. I'd volunteer for teaching it, too. My other condition would be that media literacy must include several mandatory units of "recognition of and self-defense against bullshit". I'm sure everyone, especially on the internet, would profit a lot from people being less pliable. Right now, this is pretty much exclusively part of geography, which is constantly disfavoured in budget politics (see above): every once in a while I playfully slip my students a BS source, along with the task of working out what's wrong with it, which they usually have a lot of fun doing once they get it. If media literacy was a subject, I'd still do this in geography, too, but enjoying the opportunity to make more complex challenges.

PaulEberhardt at 7:08AM, Sept. 9, 2021

We don't often come to teaching taking care of money, expenses, taxes and credits, because we take so long to teach those kids the criminal resolve necessary for grasping it in full. ;) Seriously though, school can do only so much, and some things are just better learnt by figuring them out yourself. Teaching classes in finding a partner, for instance, would just take much of the fun out of it - ironically, when I taught Biology as a cover teacher last year, one of the mandatory topics was exactly that, at least on a basic, theoretical level. This said, if I had any say in the curriculum, a couple of things certainly would change...

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