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Tonight, I had to log onto a career resource and resume template website. I made an account my freshman year of high school; the teacher warned us to create a username and password we could remember because we would be using this website for a long time. The student teacher mentioned he was using it.
I was skeptical. There are many things teachers will tell you will be long-term things that you will use later in your education, or perhaps into your career. As it turned out, a few of these predictions were right, and many were wrong. Not that I think the teachers were universally wrong: Some students probably did go on to use those things, but not me.
I now have three mental lists.
- Things teachers told me I would use that I have yet to use
- My trigonometry reference table. I understand that anybody who went on into calculus classes used this. I went into statistics classes and did not.
- My “prime after prime” prime number reference sheet from seventh or eighth grade. I was told to hang onto it but lost it within a year. I never needed a prime number reference sheet after eighth grade.
- The “Hand over hand” steering technique that they tried to teach me in driver’s ed. (Maybe I do use this sometimes, but I never think about the way I steer…I just drive!)
- MLA stuff. This one isn’t exactly true, because I did continue to use it during my first few semesters of college. However, upon getting into my major, I switched to APA, which I like better. When you are writing quickly, it’s so much easier to remember that Allen (2013) said something, rather than remember that this thing was said by Allen on page 11. I thought it was odd that they did not endeavor to teach us both systems in high school. English class focused on MLA, which made sense, but so did all the other teachers, with the exception of one science teacher my freshman year who requested APA formatting.
- Factoring and the quadratic equation. Again, people who had to take more than two math courses in college probably use this. I do not.
- Strategies to say “no” to drugs. I do not believe I have ever been offered drugs. Where are all these people that were supposed to be offering kids drugs all the time?
2. Things teachers told me I would use that I did use
- The aforementioned resume formatting site
- Library research skills, especially the online databases
- Typing (Although I didn’t learn it when I took the class, I just kind of picked up on it later, and my form is terrible.)
- Writing a business letter. (And a resume!)
- The metric system. I don’t remember if I was explicitly told “You will use this” or not, but every science class uses it, and it’s just good to be familiar with the system. I know I have needed to convert metric units a lot more than I have needed to convert customary units.
- A number of writing strategies. Tenth and eleventh grade were especially productive years because I was required to write a rough draft in 40 minutes.
3. Things nobody expected me to use that I used anyway
- Chemistry splash goggles. I bought a pair for a class and keep them around now in case I need to deal with cleaning chemicals that sting my eyes or such things.
- Standardized test skills. Dealing with computer screens or bubble sheets for a long time is a skill, as is the particular style of question that shows up on the tests.