In discussion with a student today (I say discussion, I mean full blown hissy), I was informed that you never use anything you learn in school in “the real world”.
I first told the young person to step away from the air quotes, as any responsible adult would do. Nobody uses those in the real world.
Secondly, I began to list things in the last week that we had covered during lessons, that I actually use or have used in the real world…wherever that is.
I derailed the rant and got them back on track for heading into afternoon lessons, but it got me thinking about all the tidbits and scraps of information I got in my early teens that I still use today. Here are a few that stood out.
- How to write a darn good complaints letter – This is a vital skill, that I didn’t know I needed until the 3rd year of Uni and a scummy landlord tried to keep all my deposit.
- How to do percentages, fractions and how to budget – The bane of my life at school, but thank goodness, I can work out if the taxman is taking the right amount, and how much I can save and spend.
- How to do algebra- I was shocking at maths, really surprised myself at GSCE by getting a B, but I loved algebra. It taught me that you can substitute something for something else, and it won’t completley end your world.
- How to spell – I’m asked about 30 times a day how to spell something…and yes I have to write it in the air with an invisible finger pen, but I get it right every time.
- What has gone on in the world – Without history, I honestly couldn’t hold a half decent conversation with anyone. My students often whinge about learning about ‘old stuff’, but then they are often glad when they can interject into a conversation about current events, relating it to historical ones. It’s all about breadth of knowledge. (And that isn’t knowing about sandwiches)
- How to make mistakes (and be ok about it) – I say, ‘No probs, have another go’ at least 10 times a day. A lot of students feel that if they make a mistake, they are bad and stupid people. Not true. We must make mistakes in order to learn the right answer. I let the young people see me make mistakes, and also let them watch me laugh and shrug it off, and have another go.
What are you glad you learnt at school?