One of the benefits of the British Education System is that students are offered lots of opportunities to be introduced to new subjects and ideas and as a teacher I believe that a well-rounded education and a love of learning is important. However, not everything that we learn will have a useful impact on our adult lives, and these will differ depending on our strengths, interests and career choices. Sixteen years after I left school, here are some of the things that I learned and have not used since.
1. X = ? (I can imagine my math teacher friends getting irate already). I spent years trying to figure out how much X was worth. Nowadays, X is a number of things – a kiss at the end of a text message, a wrong answer on ‘Family Fortunes,’ part of the new Apple Yosemite operating system and three of them together gives the assumption that something is pornographic, but I certainly haven’t had to find out it’s numerical worth since I became an adult.
2. The composition of different types of soil. During GCSE Geography (which I actually really enjoyed mainly due to the fact I was lucky to have a dynamic young teacher) I had to explore different types of soil in the local area. Fifteen years later, my knowledge of soil is that it takes ages to clean out of the carpet. Time well spent, clearly.
3. The reproductive cycle of the blowfly, complete with live maggots. I had quite a sadistic science teacher who liked to put maggots in his mouth during biology lessons to freak us out. In two years of biology lessons, this is the only thing I remember of his teachings, and I haven’t seen a maggot since.
4. Long division. Calculator anybody?
5. How to say ‘I don’t have any brothers or sisters’ and ‘I have a dog’ in German. While I think it’s important to make an effort to learn new languages, I have two younger sisters and two cats, so even if I were to have a conversation in German I wouldn’t be able to use either sentence. Unfortunately, these are the only two sentences I can remember, I have no German friends and no plans to travel there anytime soon.
6. How to make a replica of my own head using papier mâché and a balloon. Useful for escaping Alcatraz, but not for living everyday life.
7. How to colour around the British Isles in blue pencil crayon. I did this twice in Geography in Year 7 and rocked it both times. Perhaps I should put it on my CV?
8. How to over-analyse poetry, with the only acceptable analysis being provided by the answers according to the exam board that we were studying (cue irate English teacher friends). A potato symbolised the love the poet felt for his father. Really? Why can’t a potato be just a potato?
9. How to copy out of a textbook. I have entire exercise books filled with pages of writing directly taken from a textbook. Now, I just buy the textbook.
10. How to participate in PE lessons in just my underwear. When we forgot our kit, we were sometimes forced to participate in just our pants and a T Shirt. Thank god I haven’t had to do that since – nobody needs to see that!
11. The atomic number for Oxygen, which is 8. I’ve never forgotten it. Unfortunately, this knowledge is completely useless to my life.
12. How to work out the point where trains travelling at different times from different places at different speeds will meet. I travel via train all the time, but it isn’t something I’ve ever taken into consideration. As long as the other train isn’t travelling towards my train on the same track, I’m happy to leave that information alone.
What about you guys? What things did you learn in school that you now deem to be useless in your adult years?
Thanks to Phil at The Phil Factor for today’s inspiration! (When I say inspiration, I mean I have totally stolen his idea). Check out his blog, it’s one of my favourites…
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