I came across a funny question posted on Mental Floss the other day, and it got me thinking about the students who work in our library who are going off to University soon. The question posed was: What High School class have you found most useful? I’m assuming this is in reference to life after high school (and probably university). While young people sit through years of classes they don’t think they’ll ever use again (advanced math seems to be a common complaint), I think our younger selves would be surprised at the classes we DO end up using later in life.
Some of the answers posted on the Mental Floss pages ranged from typing to economics to English classes. (The most popular one seemed to be typing!) When I think back to the classes I took and the degree I followed with, the answer would have been music class. Now, after a change in career direction, I’d have to say English class (or, okay….typing). There were probably many courses that I thought (at the time) would never be useful to me….such as geography or science…but there have been plenty of times when I’ve needed maps, and many instances where I’ve used “scientific principles” to solve problems.
These days, we notice more and more young people having trouble with “simple” things….like filling out a form to get a library card. We don’t expect really young kids to know what “mailing address” means, but when you get into High School, knowing your postal code or what township you live in should be second nature. It’s shocking to us how many “kids” don’t know these, however.
What if there was a High School class devoted to the basics of life? A class which taught teens to fill out forms, or balance a chequebook or work out a budget for bills and groceries would be something many people would look back on later in life and say….that really helped me. Our lives are so digital now that kids are even losing cursive writing. Maybe there will be a time when signing your name will be as simple as scanning a fingerprint into a computer, but for now, it’s still important. Life 101. That’s what I’d call the course.
So, what class did YOU take in High School that you find most useful today?