Why Does School Teach So Many Useless Things?

Lovesblackcats asks: Why don’t we learn really useful things in school like how to fix a flat tire or balance a checkbook? Why do we need to spend time finding the diameter of a circle or doing calculus?

Hi LovesBlackCats!

Boy this question gets asked all the time. I’ll bet they asked it in Ancient Egypt, and it’ll still be asked a thousand years from now. “Why do I have to study stuff that means nothing to me?”

When I was a puppy, I really cared about a few things. Biting, chewing, playing, food, making friends, and whether Handsome liked me as much as I liked him. That’s about it. I wanted to spend all my time pursuing those things. If I could have had my way, I wouldn’t have even slept! And Handsome would ruin my good times every day by insisting on training me to do a bunch of things I thought were totally dumb: sitting, staying, heeling, coming when he called… BOOOOORRRRRRING! I’d get treats when I did things right, so it was okay, but as a whole, all I could think was “What a waste of time! Let’s play tug-of-war with your socks instead!”

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve figured out that I really did need to know those things. And even more importantly, I needed to learn how to learn. That way it was easy for Handsome to teach me a thousand other things, like to stay inside a moving car even if there’s a really sassy squirrel outside!

And that’s my answer, which you probably don’t like hearing! Sometimes we need to learn something even though we don’t understand why yet, and sometimes it’s just good for helping build our brains.

Now I’m a dog, so I’ll never do these things, but you might: Music composers will tell you that music is all about math, and artists all work with shapes and dimensions, so learning how to judge the diameter of a circle might help you become the next great Beethoven or DaVinci. And physics and engineering are all about Calculus, so taking that might help you become the next Einstein! But even if you never pursue those directions, you will be a better thinker for having studied these things.

In the meantime, yes, PLEASE learn how to fix a flat tire and balance a checkbook, whether at school or somewhere else. We pooches do not like being stuck on the freeway or going hungry!

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Leave a Reply 4 comments

crazycatlady - December 21, 2015 Reply

If we could learn those things in addition to common sense adult stuff (balancing a checkbook, fixing a flat tire), I would be totally happy. I can still recite the formula for quadratic equations despite never having to do one, but damn if I can fix a flat.

    shirelle - December 28, 2015 Reply

    Hey I can’t even open the refrigerator door, but the only education I got was in sitting, staying, coming, and (getting an F in) heeling.

Vedanova - December 18, 2020 Reply

How the heck did I find something so old and so “i always wanted to know that”

    shirelle - December 21, 2020 Reply

    Oh if you think that’s old and smart, you should try out Shakespeare some time!!!

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