I’ve done a lot of thinking recently. This year is my final year in education, which got me thinking… I started secondary school in 2007. TEN YEARS AGO. Which then made me think about secondary school, which then made me think, what did I actually learn? (I told you I’d done a lot of thinking)
So let’s chat about the education system and what those five years in school actually taught me.
- People can be brutal.
I think it’s very hard to settle into a friendship group in school, the popular group seems so out of reach and idealistic yet not at all like a good place to be, then there’s one group that seem like the best of friends but they’re the uncool and bullied group and, well, out of fear you stay away. So what does this make? A hierarchical system, which seems to imply some sort of potential to “progress to the top” (this is a whole different kettle of fish,) you may have guessed I never made that progression, I was pretty close to the bottom of the hierarchy, but that didn’t bother me. Even though, as it later transpires, I never fitted in with the group I was in. But they were all I had (Friendships on Rough Seas.) The other non-group students can be quick to judge you, if you’re intelligent you’d better be popular or you’ll be called a nerd, if you’re not as bright you’d better make people laugh or you’ll be called thick. You can’t win.
- Horrible Histories is the only place you’ll learn about history.
I don’t know about you (but I’m feeling 22) but my history lessons at school were awful. I remember sod all. Actually I lie, I do remember two things. One, the teacher dressed up as an executioner and hid in the stationary cupboard. Two, this was the class I met my best friend in. Other than that I have no recollection, truth be told I don’t think I could even tell you when World War 2 was, and I hate myself for this ignorance. I watched, and indeed still do on occassion Horrible Histories and this show taught me so much (although as I have a shocking memory some of it is probably very confused.) To this day I still remember the lyrics to the theme tune. Long story short, history teachers should just wheel in that old massive telly and put Horrible Histories on in class.
- Maths anxiety is a thing
I used to cry over maths. One of my strongest memories of the first year of school was when I cried about the maths homework outside the classroom, my teacher was so concered he rang my parents. What didn’t help was my fellow classmates who laughed at me. For some reason though teachers always seemed to love me and this guy slammed them down, and for that I am grateful. But maths anxiety is a thing and annoyingly, I don’t think many teachers understand this. I used to lack so much confidence with my maths, I’d need things explained to me several times, and I would need time to get used to the work. Once I was setteled I actually enjoyed maths, the problem solving was quite fun and, I was pretty fast at getting the work done. I think if I’d recognised this anxiety earlier and had it nurtured I’d probably have done something science based at uni as I really love science (but this is a weird existential thought that I want to forget immediately. ) It was actually commented on at a parents evening once, I think the teacher said something along the lines of “it’s unusual to have a student in the highest set for science, yet be in the third set for maths.” So you can imagine how that made me feel.
- There are three types of rock
This is one of the facts I do remember from school. Igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary. Boom. Not that I have an issue with learning this, I loved geography. I just wish we were actually taught important life skills. Such as, where countries actually are on the map, the capital cities of these countries etc etc. This isn’t just limited to geography. In French I wrote an article about the global fashion industry, yet in France I can’t order a jug of water for the table, book a taxi or know what to say at a till. I don’t know what a mortgage is, how to buy a house, what a credit score is. Need I go on?
When I say trends I mean to do with the fashion that is school unoforms. Head bands were cool, thin eyebrows were on, and if your shirt was tucked in and your tie was long you were bullied. Looking back that look was scruffy at best, and when my brother started school, specifically his last two years he found it hilarious and weird how that was cool. Because when he was at school it was cool to tuck your shirt in and have a normal tie. I just find it so strange how these things came to exist, who decides what is considered fashion? And why was everyone obsessed with being cool?