Shit We Never Needed What We Learned at School

…That our teacher’s told us we would. The feckers.

After doing #LifeSchool posts of stuff they never taught us at school that they probably should have, I have been thinking more and more about the stuff we did get forced to learn but actually didn’t need after all.

I have included some on here from Elder too. He was at school in the mid 70s to mid 80s and of course, education was different then. In the case of the naughty buggers, thank fuck for that.


Maths, of course in a lot of ways was probably helpful, if you went on to do a job that was hardcore and you needed more than just adding up.

No matter how many times I used to try watching Carol Vorderman Maths Videos, I hated maths and found that no matter how hard I tried, the minute it hit my brain it refused to stay, like blue tack that’s run out of stickiness.

I remember many times and many teachers who told us all when we complained that one day we’d need maths. We might be in a supermarket and need to work out our money. We may need to pump up a tyre at a garage. Yes, pythagoras theorem would come in handy one day.

Except, actually, it hasn’t.

Mental arithmetic is just bollocks and outdated now. We all have mobile phones these days, and can Google that shit.

(Which was rather handy this morning as Littlest was asking me, pre- coffee, what half of 9.6kg is. I have no idea what maths he was doing that at 7 he would need to know this, but fear not, thought I, and Googled it whilst he wasn’t looking).

I do the odd sum in my head- as long as it’s not times tables, division or hard subtraction I’m all good. But my brain just thinks to itself, look love, you pay £30 a month for a mobile phone, put down the Facebook feed for two seconds and use my lovely shiny calculator instead. My brain knows and cares. So I do.

So, that’s a few hours a week off the timetable. What’s next?


I have to hold my hand up- we didn’t do Latin at RNS. I’d like to think it was down to Elder’s generation not having technology lessons, hence why it was compulsory for his lot. I know however that my sister’s grammar school did it so know it’s more likely that we were considered to thick to try to teach it to.

What the hell was the point of Latin?

Who actually speaks this anymore?

According to Elder, a lot of our language derives from Latin, so it was worth knowing.

I then asked if he can actually remember any Latin as it was so important to know it in the 80s. Even he must recall some swear type words of Latin wonder, surely?

Erm, no. He can’t remember any.

He can however remember lots of hip obscure bands and acts from the 70s and 80s though.

Sure, Latin did shape our language as we know it now. But we know it the other way now. We don’t learn language before that time so why Latin? In fact, why waste years teaching a language no one speaks anymore, when you could just do a lesson on it in History over a term. We don’t learn Roman Numerals as part of maths, so why a few words that sound a bit like words we use now?

If that’s the case, should we learn text speak now for when it takes over the English language entirely? And why do we not learn Gaelic or Welsh in English schools, we’re far more likely to bump into someone speaking these than Latin.

Quod attinet Latine didicisti?

Punctus non est meus.

Next up, my second most hated part of school.


PE. God, I hated PE, and I was quite good at some aspects of it.

I think I hated PE so much as our PE teacher was hugely overweight. I never once saw her actually manage to jog. She was good at shouting at us though. How anyone as grossly overweight as this cow was could comment on our ability to run round a field or jump in a sand pit was frankly questionable. I do recall one brave soul remarking that perhaps she should try running round the field in blistering heat 3 times and see how far she got before keeling over. I think they got detention.

And the showers, oh God the showers. We didn’t have to use them anymore, but you knew that should one of the evil cows who liked to torment you be bored, they would always throw you in fully clothed and turn the coldest, brownest water on all over you. And what would our fat teacher tell you? Drip dry, that’s what, no sympathy was given, no fucks taken for the poor child who had to walk around stinking of old water in wet clothes all day.

I hated team sports too. All team sports did was set you up for Office life when you get asked to go on a Team Building exercise and revert to school days of picking off the weak one by one. I was shit at team sports (dyspraxia was not my friend), I nearly lost teeth during basketball.

You can, if you want to, just go to the gym now, or have a tummy tuck. Easy peasy.

Time for something from our EU cousins now


Remember the times of trying to remember whether a word had the female “la” or the male “le” a the beginning of a word?

The amount of times I would have my French teacher tell me off for using the feminine rather than the masculine is not worth repeating. I often used to wonder why words had to be girl or boy words, as ours aren’t, but was too scared to voice it.

I didn’t do German, but Elder did French, German (and the aforementioned Latin), I was too scared of the German teacher (who once gave me a detention for waiting outside a classroom. It was a minute before the bell went and the classroom was a mobile one outside which my Geography lesson was in. I was given a detention for being keen to go to class. Figure that shit out. And no, I never went, I got out of it for pointing out how ridiculous it was to be given a detention for being on time for class).

But like my French teacher, our German teacher used to say that we needed these important languages for our future job prospects.

Correct me if I’m wrong on two points:

Have you ever gone for an interview in the UK, and been asked to tell them where a swimming pool is in French and how to get to it?

Me neither.

Also, now that it looks likely we may leave the EU,  if you believe the scaremongers (which I don’t by the way- I am so far out if I could move us further away from mainland Europe I would) we won’t be able to trade with the French or the Germans so why should we bother to know the female or male of a word or how to tell them I have a headache in their native lingo?

I rejoice for a generation that will no longer need to bother.

Why have we never learned any other European languages? I’d have rather learned Spanish, or Swedish. I could sing Waterloo in actual Abba language then. How cool would that be?


Like Maths, another lesson I was a) shit at, and b) assured that I would find useful in my adult life.

Our science teacher was nice, don’t get me wrong, but his constant promise that we would one day encounter chemicals which, when incorrectly mixed with other chemicals, could possibly explode and we’d die awful deaths (or turn into Spiderman perhaps?)  was utter tosh.

Never have I ever been in that situation. Sure, if I ever watch Breaking Bad I may find the whole meth lab set up easier to follow, but we didn’t know the kooky Dad from Malcolm in the Middle would make that show in the nineties.

I have never had to work out magnets- apart from those I put on my fridge. I have never needed to know the Periodic Table of Elements. I can recall the rhyme we were taught to remember the order of our GCSE ones. I cannot, however, remember which element each letter of this rhyme was meant to represent.

I always felt Science was a boy subject, and frankly, I don’t know why I wasted years learning any of it.


Yeah, I’m not sure they do these anymore, and good job too.

Woodwork just ended in a wonky bird box, a wonky Barbie table (no idea why I made that, it looked easy) and lots of splinters and near misses with an old rotary drill.

I was never allowed on electric tools.

Sewing class was horrendous, I had no desire to be a seamstress, the rag trade as it was known as had long since died out. I was rubbish with a sewing machine and even worse at hand stitching. Knitting makes me come out in a rash.

With both of these, they may have been worth the bother back in the pre-Elder days. Now, we have Ikea. And Primark. I do not need, and have no desire to bother, to make my own clothing or furniture. It would fall apart in both cases the minute anyone went near it.


So, what would I keep?

Music, for a start, as I had two kick ass teachers (one of whom sadly passed away recently- RIP Mrs Gregory) and found it far more interesting and diverse a subject.

English as I love books and still do (and, well, I was good at it, so am biased. No really, I got two As in English. I got a D/D in Science and an E in Maths).

History as its infinite and then you could teach children days of yore when we didn’t have mobile phones and had to learn long division. How they would laugh.It also teaches you not to fuck up like previous generations and start crappy wars and join Europe.

Geography as it’s nice to know about other places round the world. I loved Geography so much I did it and History for GCSE and am still able to read a map down to Miss Parker.

See, it’s not all bad, but I definitely think there is more scope to teach actual life stuff if they just ditch the outdated nonsense we had to suffer as kids.

No matter how many teachers tell how many generations that one day they will need to know what pie squared is or whether Hydrogen can be mixed with Potassium (answer? No idea I’ve forgotten as I’ve not studied it since 1998), there are certain subjects that have no place in the modern world.

I’m off to lobby parliament.

If I can just work out my change for the bus…..