Intro- Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School
In this article I will discuss some things I wish they had taught me in school. I learned many things in school from the time I was 3 until my high school years. Reading, writing, mathematics, and how to make friends were some essential skills that I credit the American educational system for. I recognized how hard many teachers worked to help students progress in life. But by the time I reached early adulthood I realized how flawed public schooling is. Other skills that I wish I had possessed were never introduced to me in my 14 years as an alumni. As a disclaimer, I’m not arguing that school should be a substitute for effective parenting or suggesting a cookie-cutter approach to education. In fact, I believe that some of my points might not be practical in today’s schools. But I hope to get some people thinking as they read.
How to file taxes and why we need to pay both state and federal taxes was never taught to me. In fact the only time I heard about taxes in school was when they’d teach about the American Revolutionary War. Looking back, I really believe that I would’ve been more prepared for the real world had taxes been a subject. Most of what I learned about taxes came after I was well into my 30’s. And I did not start focusing on it because I wanted to, but because I had to. I would hear stories of people who served 10 years in prison for tax evasion. If I were running a business there was no way I could avoid getting into trouble with the law if I did not pay taxes. I still question to this day, why schools never included something so essential in their curriculum.
2. Money management
How to manage finances could have been more of a benefit to me than studying algebra. So many of my colleagues were never good with money. Within a few days of getting paid they’d be completely broke. We were always taught that we needed to graduate college to have a good paying career. But were never taught what to do to get out of debt or how to save money. In high school I took economics class, but it was based mostly on people who controlled the wealth of the country. It was like we needed to revere these individuals, but learning the secret to their success wasn’t an option. If we wanted to be good at managing money we had to learn through trial and error. My best lessons about finances came from me spending money on things that I did not need.
3. College loans
If there is anything that I wish I knew before enrolling in college it was student loans. Never once throughout my 14 years in grade school did I hear about loans. The balance for student loan debt in the U.S is almost at 2 trillion USD. I mean if this is something that plagues the U.S. economy why don’t they teach us about it? When I was transitioning from undergrad to grad school I was about $60 thousand dollars in debt. Even the student loan forgiveness program that was supposed to decrease my debt did not cover 50 percent of it. By the time I was out of college I owed more than a hundred thousand in debt with no income. All my life I never had to pay for schooling until I started college. It was an unfortunate reality that hit me and I had no solution for it.
4. Business acumen
Entrepreneurship 101 would have been a great class for a person like me who is a small business owner. But I was taught the typical things that has conditioned people to work the 9 to 5 gig. What was in the school system that we were required to follow? The 3 things we learned was how to wake up early, how to take orders and how to be rewarded by superiors. I wish I could have learned advertising and marketing or how to start a business. I would have probably owned more than one business by now had I been educated properly. Ironically, I learned more about business from watching 2 videos on Youtube than I did from learning about the Industrial Revolution. I also accomplished more in my first 6 months running Website Prestige than I did in 4 years of high school.
One thing that could have been very useful for me and most of my friends was a class on romantic relationships. In fact it should be a part of the school curriculum for everyone who wants to pursue love. Why are we taught fantasy like Romeo and Juliet, yet many young people struggle to be romantic? You might argue that being good at relationships should be learned in the home and I agree. After all, morals and values are principles that begin in the family. But what if you came from a dysfunctional family that did not model good relationships? Most of my male colleagues never grew up with a dad to teach them about healthy relationships. Several close friends of mine had failed marriages because they were not prepared to be in serious relationships. Society as a whole is plagued with high divorce rates and unhealthy relationships.
6. Critical thinking
In my opinion, schools do an excellent job of creating people who do not question anything. As a student I knew how to accept the status quo and be a recipient of conformity. I was told to revere people from American history simply because they were our heroes. I was taught to trust scientific theories just because they came from credible textbooks. Teachers were always seen as the authority figures who could never commit any mistakes. Society would be better off if schools encouraged us to think for ourselves instead of having others think for us. Rather than have a world of ignorant conformists we’d have many innovators and success stories.
7. Leadership skills
It is a sad reality that we have so many managers and very few leaders in this day and age. I am sure most people who have worked in a corporate setting have witnessed bosses with no leadership acumen. Schools teach us how to perform tasks, but place little effort into showing us the skills to lead others. I do recognize that being a leader requires problem solving ability and that schools somewhat emphasize this trait. But being a good leader requires a lot more than problem solving ability. There are many people who can come up with solutions, but are terrible with people. Having to display leadership skills in a given situation is something that confronts us daily and unexpectedly. We shouldn’t begin to learn these things once we venture out into the corporate world to build our career.
Now that you have read this article regarding things that I wish they had taught me in school I hope you can empathize. I realize that not everyone’s educational experience is the same. I know people who have had a pleasant time in their years of school and are successful in life. The great thing about blogging is that everyone is entitled to their own personal opinion. But I mostly write to those who share similar experiences as I do. If you in your heart feel that you were short changed by school then I understand your pain. I do not wish such an experience on anyone, including my worst enemies.
If you would like to add anything to “Things that I wish they had taught me in school” feel free to comment below.