Apr 16, 2009

Things they should have taught me at school

Having just done my taxes (sort of - my boyfriend did them and I mailed them without payment [but on time!] because I couldn't find my checkbook and couldn't figure out another way to pay), I got to thinking about all the things that really should be taught in school. I mean, history's great, science is great, but why is it that all of the things that *everybody* is going to need to know either don't get taught or, if they are taught, they're taught in write-off classes like home-ec and photography? I guess parents are expected to teach their kids all the crucial bits, but...well...they don't. And it's all such simple stuff - a single semester-long class per year could have saved so many of us so much grief.

So, here are some of the things I wish somebody had taught me in school!

1. Taxes. What they are, when you need to start paying them, what the most common forms are and how to fill them out. What are deductions, how to save your paperwork...all that stuff.

2. Employment. What job interviews are like, different sorts of resumes and cover letters, how to dress for an interview or a job, where to look for jobs, how to get along with co-workers, basic information about different options and the kinds of work most people end up doing...

3. Municipal matters. How to use public transit in your city, what kinds of services are available, where your elected officials are and what they do, how the legal system is set up, where to go when you need things, how the phone and electric and water systems work, what crime and safety issues are, where the really nice parks are at...

4. Technology. My computer class was taught by a teacher who knew about half what any of the students knew about computers, but insisted on starting us all at the very beginning anyway. We wanted to learn to program, she wanted to teach us which finger to use to type "7". And she spent the equivalent of an entire class trying to make us say "key" instead of "type."

Okay, that's what I'm thinking of off the top of my head. Should anyone else care to participate I shall be more than happy to update.


Christopher said...

I've heard that some schools have stopped teaching those sorts of typing skills anymore. Because of all the really short, repetitive motions, it can aggravate carpal tunnel.

It's better to have a more random and flexible typing style so that your fingers can move around and stretch.

Emma said...

i definitely agree about random typing styles being better. we had typing classes with really old how-to books and had to use certain fingers for certain keys and not move our hands but my hands were too small!
we did have some sort of one day workshop about looking for work and cost of living and those sorts of practical things which was quite good but they didn't cover taxes. the problem with that sort of thing is they're specific to the place you live in. i would really like someone to teach me how to look for jobs etc. in various parts of europe!

Hayley said...

Interesting. Okay, so I'm way older than you people, but I took typing classes in high school and the result is that I type upward of 90 words a minute.

I don't know that is useful for anyone who isn't some sort of author, but of all the stuff I learned in high school, I feel touch typing was by far the most valuable.