Saturday, September 12, 2009

All I Ever Needed to Know

This past week I received an email from a good friend. Among other things, it mentioned how much of a waste of time it was for her to learn cursive back in elementary school.

How absolutely true it is! Other than your signature, when was the last time you wrote in cursive? Isn't it more likely that most of you print when actually using a pen and then type everything else on a computer? I have found this to be true for most.

Schools should really teach printing and then go straight to word processing.

This got me to start thinking...what else was I taught in my primary and secondary education that was a total waste of my time, my effort, and my parents' tax dollars?

Cursive: we already discussed this above
Ridiculous Spelling Words: I am a great speller. The best in my family. I always aced my spelling tests and, to be honest, enjoyed them. That being said, why the hell did I have to learn how to spell the word "lamborghini" in 6th grade? I'll tell you why...Mrs. Wolfe loved those cars and wanted all her students to know how to spell it. That word ruined a perfect spelling test score for me and I've never even used the knowledge of how to spell it until this post (actually, I had to look it up). The fact that my teacher didn't even spell her last name correctly only adds to this frustration.
Memorizing Shakespeare:
I have no idea what, but my high school English teacher insisted that I memorize a variety of different sililoquies. I really don't see how it did me any good then and I surely don't remember them now!
Circuits: I had to take an electronics class in 9th grade. I have no idea what a circuit is or how it works. Why would a 14 year old girl need to know this? I feel as if I had ever needed to know it for future employment, my collegiate coursework would have required it. Doesn't help that the teacher was a total creepster.
Okay I admit it...the basic geometric skills have been helpful at times. Like when drawing out plans for building a small project, etc. But that upper level stuff was ridiculous. SIN? COS? TAN? How about "WTF" instead!
Chemistry: the whole class in general. Total waste of time. Have never used one bit of it in my post-chem life. Not one.

This is only a small sample of these things and I could certainly list many more. But I also don't want to give the impression that I didn't appreciate my education before college. I went to some very good public schools and, looking back, had many fantastic teachers. The good far outweighs the bad. It just isn't near as much fun to write about.

Keep It Real!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. A lot (not "alot") of K-12 education is about giving students skills for future learning. For example, I agree that "lamborghini" is a completely useless word for a weekly spelling test. A better word would have connected with the content of her curriculum. However, you still needed to practice study skills to learn to spell it correctly.

    For all those people reading the comments, Maggie is the best speller in the family.

    "Bad spellers of the world untie"


  3. Maggie, Maggie, Maggie. I use cursive every day (and I was one of those freakishly weird kids who loved spelling AND penmanship!). And spelling......well, perhaps high schools should employ remedial spelling AND English classes, since so many articles, advertisements, letters-to-the-editor, etc., seem to have legions of basic errors in them--due, in part, to the feel-good trend of "phonetic spelling" which dominates lower elementary classrooms. Children do not learn to spell words correctly, but they feel really good about spelling them wrong. The other part? That would be the insane world of texting. Ick. That's all I'm sayin' about that.

    I guess a lot really depends on what you want to do with your life. So much of what is learned in school could be taught more proficiently by just plain living, acquiring common sense, and learning from mistakes. It used to be you could take home ec. and learn how to cook and sew. Business classes taught basic economics, accounting and typing. Shop and ag classes taught you how to farm and fix your machinery yourself. Those things have gone by the wayside for the most part in favor of new math, sensitivity training, multicultral history, and ACT prep once you're out of high school, you can talk to people really nicely about how smart you all are, but you can't sew on a button or cook a meal (not that you could measure the ingredients anyway)--and even if you could, you've no idea where your food came from in the first place, other than the local co-op organic farmers' market (but it's probably organic free range fair trade).

    Anyway. Too bad I don't feel strongly enough to pull my kids from building school and teach them myself. Oops, wait--yes I am! ;)

    Interesting post, Mags.

    Nick, it takes a strong man (and a great brother) to admit that his sister is a better speller than he. :)

  4. Thank you, Laura, for the longest comment I have ever received on a post :) And I totally agree on the common sense comment...the more the better!