School was not a favourite time for me. Let’s be honest I didn’t like school, I’m an introvert and found it hard, but I look at the schools today and laugh. I chatted with a young mum and she was horrified at what the teachers got away with in my school days.
Back in our days we marched around the school yard saying the times tables over and over till we had them memorised. There was no way anyone passed unless they passed the tests and exams. There was none of this passing a student so they could stay with their friends and not lose their self-confidence.
If students talked too much or mucked around in class then the teacher threw whatever was handy, the duster, the stapler, the text books at the students to get them to stop. There was bullying back then, too but there was no mediation or policy to stop it other than whoever won the fight led the pecking order.
There was no friend chair to sit on – you either had friends or you didn’t. There was no consideration for allergies or noise sensitive students and the accompany policies to cater for them. And in a way, that is a good thing because the world does not cater for you, you have to adjust to the world.
But there are some things that I wish had been taught at school. Life lessons would’ve been nice. I’m talking real life lessons that would actually help you. Things like:
Budgeting – we weren’t taught about money, the value of it or how to budget what you earn or get on social security benefits. My mother taught me to whack everything on credit, but not how to pay it off. I had to teach myself how to budget and sometimes I screw it up, but that’s because, it’s getting increasingly harder and harder to live on a couple of hundred a week. But budgeting would be a useful thing to teach students.
Parenting Skills – how to deal with a child that is challenging. Television and magazines show the stars with their perfect children in looks and behaviour. Occasionally, we get glimpses of them misbehaving but overall, the projection, the image the stars want you to see is perfection, the children are to fit into their image. Some of them give the child a name that if it were a normal person, would see the child teased and ridiculed, but because the parent of a child is a star or influential person, they don’t seem to get teased as much.
But it’s not a fair description. You don’t have many stars going well my child has depression, or ADD or ADHD or Asperger’s or any other of the challenging behaviours. You hear when they get sick or injured and when they go off the rails but not many seem to have challenging behaviour’s which gives a distorted view to those who adore and hero worship their favourite star.
Even those reality baby dolls they are now giving to teenagers with the design to show them how demanding a baby can be, but they are programmed to cry when hungry, need their nappy changed or they want attention.
I’d like to see them programmed to resemble a colicky baby. See how long they last before they want to give up. It would be nice to have a perfect baby but life isn’t perfect and neither are babies. Teach teens about caring for a baby, how to feed, change and look after it. Why not? If they’re going to have sex, they risk pregnancy and if they get pregnant at least they might have some skills to cope.
Basic Car Maintenance – Gone are the days when you could drive to a service station and have the attendant check your car’s oil and water levels and the tyre pressure. I can name one. Many people just don’t know how to do these basic things and then wonder why the car overheats.
But learning to do a basic check including safety tips like don’t open the radiator cap if the car is hot or you risk getting burned. Don’t do what one of my school friends did and check the level of his petrol by opening the cap and trying to see into the tank with a cigarette lighter … it was not a good result.
Forms – How to fill out the endless pages of government forms. Once you leave school you have tons of forms to fill in, although most of it is online now but it still requires you to understand them. You have tax forms to fill in, forms for your employer if you’re lucky enough to have one, if not you have social security forms to fill in. Endless pages, sometimes with what seems to be the same question but written differently. But it would be nice to understand the nature of these forms and how to fill them out before you dive into the world of forms.
Cooking – How to create a menu and prepare it so that is nutritious. Not just the odd recipe but understanding the food groups, how important they are to one’s health, what foods go together, how much of one food group should you have as well as how to create a menu and prepare it. It doesn’t have to be exotic just basic.
Cleaning – What cleaning is. My grandmother used to literally sweep the dust under the rug. A lot of people have no understanding of how to clean a house. Teaching about the different products available, how to store them, how toxic they are and how to use them. Simple but a necessity.
Children learn from their parents. If they have a parent who doesn’t know how to clean a home properly then they won’t either. If the parent never cleans and the house is a mess, the child will think that is normal and then get a shock when they realise that actually that’s not normal.
Shopping – Shopping on a budget, how to buy in bulk, what should you buy in bulk and how to store the items when you get them home, so that there is no cross contamination. What should the fridge be set at? How long can you keep things before they need to be tossed.
These are basic things everyone should know but many do not. Many get to adulthood and don’t know these simple basics of life. And if they are not going to be taught at home then they should be taught at school. They should be taught at home through one’s family, but it doesn’t always happen. Maybe it’s just me but these are the things that I wish I had learnt and judging by some of the upcoming teenagers they need it too.