Things I Didn’t Learn in Public School


I really hope the three people who read this blog appreciate my latest post because it will take me about three hours to finish typing it.

Why is this?

Because I am a grown-up who no longer types solely with her two index fingers. I am now a practicing touch typist. This means, mainly, that until my fingers adjust to no longer sitting lazily on the keyboard while two of them do all the work, I am typing at the rate of 15 wpm (for non-transcriptionists, that translates to words per minute). This also means that every mistake I make while typing sets me back about 3.5 minutes.

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As I set out to accomplish my dream of becoming an accomplished touch-typist (and later, a transcriptionist, and ultimately, a receptionist), I have one thought buzzing around in my tired head: why wasn’t I taught the proper way to type in public school?

Not to sound spoiled, but honestly. In my twelve years of attending various stages of public schooling, I learned:

  • How to sit in an assigned seat
  • How to ask my parents for extra lunch money so I could get the Red Baron personal pizzas for lunch instead of the chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes
  • How to get from one end of the hallway to the other in under 4 minutes
  • How to spell antidisestablishmentarianism
  • How to formally request to go to the bathroom
  • How to explain to the school nurse that no, my stomachache is NOT period pain, I really do have to go home for this
  • The geography of Belarus
  • That showing your stomach/shoulders/knees/thighs/upper back/lower back/neck/elbows/inner ear/ankles/hair roots/gums/armpits would render boys completely useless and unable to function and the only way to prevent this was to remained covered at all times (this restriction does not necessarily apply to religions that preach the same level of modesty)
  • How to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every weekday morning at 8:00 a.m
  • a^2 + b^2 = c^2 ,

It’s a long list, I’ll admit. It’s not bad for twelve years. But then, to be fair, I have to consider all those things I did not learn, such as:

  • How to stop watching Netflix and start writing that paper that’s due in 30 minutes
  • How to send a professional email to professors/prospective employers
  • How to eat a balanced diet
  • How to fit an exercise routine into a busy schedule
  • An interesting answer to “What’s your biggest weakness?”
  • How to balance a checkbook
  • Some type of skill to fall back on (like sewing! or coaching a sport! or juicing!)
  • How to change a tire
  • How to file your taxes
  • Critical thinking
  • How to identify misogyny/racism/homophobia in professional and personal environments
  • ACTUAL knowledge of different belief systems and their major texts (and no, one rushed week of learning about the origins of Islam and three out of hundreds of Hindu gods does not cover that)
  • How to say “no” to unfair requests and unreasonable work environments
  • How to create a budget and live within it
  • How to not get involved with a cult, no matter how many big words the cute leader will recite to you
  • How to type with more than two fingers at a time

Is public school a waste? In a word, no.

In an honest word, yes.


And, if that’s not depressing, just think: I finished school before Common Core was implemented.

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