Wednesday, 25 November 2009

School Regrets? - I Have A Few

Do you ever wonder why you bothered to learn certain subjects at school? Probably not, but occasionally I do. Mathematics for example was one of my more enjoyable classes and one of the few subjects that I was any good at, at least until I was 16 when suddenly it seemed to get that bit harder.

Outside of basic arithmetic though it hasn't proven to be that useful in my life after school. Even though I drew plans for a living when I was a garden designer I never ever needed to know the distance between two points with the help of a hypotenuse. I did once, I repeat once, workout the distance of the hypotenuse on one of my many drawings but in truth the exercise was completely unnecessary as I was only doing it to see if I still knew how. Surprisingly, I did. But for the life of me I cannot work out why teachers had to have us learn it as much as we had to.

Algebra! Outside of serious mathematicians, scientists and teachers who actually uses algebra in the real world? And what percentage of the general population do these people make up? I somehow think the months and years of learning algebra does not equate to the usefulness of the subject. Would it not be better to have specialist advanced classes for people who show some sort of aptitude or interest in the subject and teach another more useful subject for the rest of us? Perhaps some sort of class that allows us to understand money or credit card loan rates.

Some classes, like mathematics, with algebra, we had no choice to take when we were are at school, for others though we have to take full responsibility for our own decisions.

I don't know what its like now with the schools having so many more foreign students but when I grew up in Scotland we only had to take one additional language as part of our studies for 2 years of secondary school. The language chosen as part of the enforced curriculum was French, as for some reason even though the UK is a member of the European Union (which at that time had I believe 15 member countries, now 25, most of which, if not all, speak a separate language) French was seen to be the most useful second language to have. Even though I wasn't any good at it I chose to continue my French class for a further 2 years in the hope that it might be useful in my later life. I have to say though other than spending a week in Switzerland, and 2 weeks in France those classes were pretty much a waste. I would probably even say that I learned more on those 3 weeks I spent on holiday than I did in the 4 years in a class room. Sad, but true.

Its probably been over 12 years since I have spoken French so I doubt I could remember much of anything useful. Perhaps though when I take my wife on a holiday to Paris or the south of France I might be able to remember just enough to prove somewhat useful when ordering a meal or a hotel room, but probably only after spending a couple of days in the country first.

Its funny how life turns out though. When I made the decision to continue taking the French class for an extra couple of years I could see myself taking regular holidays in France, I did not foresee that I would fall in love with a Hispanic woman. Or how much more useful taking Spanish lessons would have been over French?

So what are your school subject regrets?


Some Chilean Woman said...

It's dancing lessons you need!

Scotsman said...

Funny you should mention that the post was almost a couple of paragraphs longer for that reason.

Jimmy Bastard said...

I'd have to go with the French lessons masel. I've been on plenty of booze-cruises, but never managed more than the one word of "oui".