School Doesn’t Teach Us Anything

Why schools should place more emphasis on practical knowledge

Photo Credit: 123RF

Photo Credit: 123RF

Liam Mickulas-Mesco, Contributor

The Port Press is a publication authorized by the Northport – East Northport Union Free School District.  The articles and opinions stated in The Port Press are solely the opinions of the individual writer, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Northport – East Northport Union Free School District, Northport High School or any individual affiliated with such entities.

We live in a country where we are forced to go to school and sit through nine periods of boring lectures, trying to extract the useful information out of the lesson being taught. School is boring. Nobody is going to spend their time trying to convince you otherwise. However, if I were to claim that school doesn’t teach us anything, then some would be willing to have a discussion. But to say that school doesn’t teach us anything is obviously not true. Rather school doesn’t teach us anything useful for our adult lives. The core subjects – Math, Science, Social Studies, and English – aren’t teaching us anything that’s important for the future. We aren’t going to need to know how to find the length of the sides of a triangle or show how two triangles are congruent. We’re not going to need the ability to interpret Shakespeare to get by in our adult lives.

There is no question that school stifles our creativity. Knowing how to solve algebraic and geometric problems is important, but it’s never going to get you anywhere unless you become a “mathematician.” In the modern world, you can make a living doing what you love. Classes that encourage creativity, such as Studio and Media, aren’t getting the attention they deserve, while advanced classes are standing in the spotlight. Instead of being able to explore career paths we may enjoy, we’re being told we need to take classes that align with “office jobs.”

The way we are taught isn’t helping us either. One of my teachers told my class that he believes most teachers aren’t teaching, but instead “stuffing us” with information. I would have to agree with him. In classes like Math and Science, learning isn’t fun. It’s memorization. We remember certain things for the test and then forget them when we move onto the next topic. In AP classes, it’s worse. Memorization is essential to the class, and its practically impossible to avoid taking several pages of notes. All of this makes learning much less interesting than it should be and more of a chore. 

Lastly, school isn’t preparing us for the future. I touched on this in the previous paragraphs, but it’s basically an open secret. There are not many classes that teach us the skills necessary for life outside of school. The only classes I can think of that fit this description are Home Economics and Financial Literacy, both of which teach us how to manage money and handle various situations. These are things we need to know. Things far more important than geometry. Even so, there are very few classes at our school that teach these practical topics. Most of them aren’t even full-year courses. This is really unfortunate because without these classes, we’re going to “become fish out of water” as soon as we leave high school.

School doesn’t teach us anything. Not anything important, anyway. It has been shoving useless facts and opinions down our throats for years. If this style of education continues to be the norm, who knows how long it will take for things to change.