8 Things They Won’t Teach You At School (Although They Should!)

things they don't teach you in school   I’ve never let my school interfere with my education. Mark Twain

Few days ago the school year started and I took my son to school.

I do not have the illusions of some parents and do not think that he will learn everything he needs to know there. In fact I am pretty sure that there are many important things they will never teach him at school.

Below are just some of the things I wish they taught me at school but unfortunately they didn’t.

1.    Follow your dreams

Maybe the reason why many businesses around ”follow your dream” idea are successful among adults is because it was never taught at school.

Most of us did not think it was possible and had forgotten about our dreams long before we became adults.

No one at school told us that dreams and adulthood are not incompatible and that they can co-exist together. And no one told that dreams do come true when you do your best to realize them.

2.    Emotional Intelligence

The perception that what they teach you in schools and universities is enough to enter the ”adult” life and succeed is very wrong. Most of us are told that if we study well we will definitely succeed and only later on we realize that it is not the case.

On top of academic knowledge we need emotional intelligence, which unfortunately is never taught at schools.

3.    You are not obliged to follow the crowd

What teachers and professors tell us about the future?

They already design everyone’s path by telling that you are supposed to study well, then go to college, then university. The next step is to work somewhere, climb the career ladder, marry, buy a house…. They push the standard ”success” stories of ordinary people following the same path.

Unfortunately what they never tell you is that you can choose, that the above mentioned scenario is just one of the options and that it is ok to choose another one.

That is the reason why many people realize they want to live in other way and do something else AFTER they have already worked for a while, married and bought that house.

4.    It is ok to be different

I went to school in times when the Soviet Union still existed. Back then any kind of differentiation (not only at schools, but everywhere else) was punished. We all had the same uniform, the same notebooks and pens. We were supposed to have the same behavior and the same opinion too.

Now things have changes, but not in its root. Even today children are not told that it is ok to be different. Even now those who are not like others are misunderstood and even isolated sometimes.

5.    You don’t need to work for someone else

What most of us do after graduation? Right – try to prepare impressive CV, send it to many corporations and go to job interviews until we get hired. And when it happens we feel extremely relieved and happy. We feel that we finally grew up.

That is because no one told us that we do not need to work for someone else and we can start our own thing straightaway.

I wish they did though…

6.    It is ok to fail

There is no such person, who has never failed. We all fail sometimes and it is ok. What is important is not to get discouraged, not to give up, stand up straight and try again. That is what we were supposed to be taught at school.

7.    Use your right brain

School tests and exams are designed in such way that they encourage children to use their left brain. That is good, left brain is very important indeed … BUT children should also know that there are many situations in life where switching on their right brains will be very effective.

They should know that right brain also exists and it also needs to be used.

And what would be even better is if they were taught how to develop the right brain. Just like they learn the basics of math they also need to learn about their creativity and intuition.

8.    Teamwork

Often or occasionally we get into situations where we are supposed to work in a team. It can be in our corporate job, in sports, etc.

Working alone and working in a team require completely different skills and children should learn both.

On the other hand, maybe we should not expect too much from schools and universities. After all life and personal experiences are the best teachers.

What are your thought about the topic? What was the one important thing you wish you had learnt at school and not much later?

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31 Responses

  1. Bobbi Emel says:

    I think #6 is really important, Ani. Children – and all of us – really need to know the power of failure. It’s not something to be afraid of and to shun, it’s something to use for motivation and to gather information about what doesn’t work so we know what WILL work.

  2. Carmelo says:

    Boy, I’ll tell ya. Numbers 3 and 4 are so insidious. We are indoctrinated from such an early age. As infants and young toddlers we aren’t afraid to express ourselves. To explore, create, discover, challenge. But, in the name of respect for elders, decency, conformity, obligation, social mores, religion, and … on and on, we are molded into accepting lives that others decide for us!

    I agree with you. I’m just saying how difficult it is to really see clearly when all our lives we’ve been overtly and covertly taught to see things in whatever way our society has presented to us as … truth.

    Let’s be bold and brave and challenge accepted thought!

    • Ani says:

      Carmelo – you are right.
      When we are told permanently and from very young age what the ”truth” is, eventually we may start believing it. And that’s when ”challenging accepted thought” comes into scene.

  3. Amit Amin says:

    Oh man…. this is a great topic, because there are just so many ways in which schools are #$@#$@#.

    I couldn’t find my favorite quotes on education, but I like this one I read a few days ago:

    “Education isn’t mainly about learning specific subject matter. Rather education is mainly about practicing the sort of self-discipline that is necessary to be productive in a modern work environment. High school allows you to practice showing up on time and doing what you are told. ”

    I disagree with the quote – I think education is about more than just practicing self-discipline, but sadly, I think the other benefits, so to speak, are also not the intended purpose of education (e.g. cultural indoctrination, signaling to potential employers that you know how to work hard, keeping parents from going crazy, etc…).

    Cultural indoctrination speaks to many of your points – it isn’t that schools don’t teach you to Follow your dreams or be different; they actively teach the opposite. And they should. If we stopped teaching people that it’s okay to be cogs in the corporate machine, who would do all the boring, meaningless work!?

  4. Lee J Tyler says:

    I think all of this points are incredibly important, but the most important point is the one you make at introduction: You are not one of those parents who expect the school to teach everything under the sun. And yes, these subjects should be explored more in depth in a universal fashion as so many parents leave the teaching up to the teachers and sit with their kids at home in from of the tube until they say “Go brush your teeth.” Which is about the last thing they hear until, “You’re late. The bus is here!” Great job.

    • Ani says:

      Thanx Lee. Unfortunately you discribed parents who are many today. But also they are usually the once who do not get much attention from their children once they grow up.

  5. Lee J Tyler says:

    I think all of these points are incredibly important, but the most important point is the one you make at introduction: You are not one of those parents who expect the school to teach everything under the sun. And yes, these subjects should be explored more in depth in a universal fashion as so many parents leave the teaching up to the teachers and sit with their kids at home in from of the tube until they say “Go brush your teeth.” Which is about the last thing they hear until, “You’re late. The bus is here!” Great job.

  6. Ani, you’ve hit so many nails right on the head! I think you could write a post on each one of these. For me, the idea of “It’s okay to be different” has gotten lost in the pressure of standardized testing. When we measure kids by tests scores and grades, we also fit them into little boxes rather than differentiate them.

  7. Kaylee says:

    I actually had quite a bit of teamwork in my schooling, but everyone’s experiences are different. I definitely agree with the rest though, especially the point on failure. As I went through school, anything but top grades were failures – and that was not okay. Dealing with failures in that way are just making a bunch of perfectionists – I think there needs to be more room to fail!

  8. Every parent should read this and then demand more from our schools. I worked for a nonprofit helping dyslexic children who are struggling in school. While a bit of their struggle is reading…most of it comes from teachers who don’t recognize their struggle, peers who tease and bully, shame, embarassment and ultimately low self esteem and hating school. These children only a few whom school is a place where they are forced into a box that they do not fit. Bright, creative children, different types of learners,etc. all struggle. By high school it is place of fear, shame and acting different is as though you are a freak. Great post…and I will share with friends. Thanks

  9. What you said in number three was EXACTLY what happened to me!

    I worked my way up to the top for 10 years with a very large corporation. Had a few cars, toys, house with the pool.. the whole 9… then it hit me one day

    I thought “Is this it???” This is what I was supposed to have worked so hard for? And I am supposed to do this for another 20-30 years???

    About a week later I handed in my resignation letter. Definitely wish I had learned to embrace my creative thinking in school and that there is more than one possible road to success

    • Ani says:

      You are lucky to find out all this relatively soon. I am sure you enjoy your life more these days :)
      I guess what schools don’t teach our children we will teach them ourselves and as result they will have a better starting point.

  10. Ciara says:

    I agree with Amit there are so many things that need to change and as you say also Ani it is up to the parents to nurture your child for greatness. This is possible if the schools weren’t stamping all over their confidence and self belief. If I was a more patient person I would home school but I know that would not be good for my children!! The one advantage of school is social development but other than that I don’t think many schools have got the formula right for encourage greatness and helping a child find and use his strengths. I think we just have to keep trying

  11. farouk says:

    you are so right
    sometimes i feel our education system has nothing to do with the real world
    education should be tailored to help people live better lives
    thanks for your post

    • Ani says:

      It seems I have spam filter that overperformes :) Your comment was in spam. Now the issue is solves.
      Thanx for reading and commenting. Hopefully one day schools will get better!

  12. The truth well said! Ani, I am currently working on a video “what they won’t teach you in school” and was hoping you would love to do a 5-10minute feature. Can I know your terms/cost? Best regards.

    • Ani says:

      Hey Stanley,

      I saw your comment only now… something happened to comment notifications, I guess. I am sorry. Please Skype message me (ani.alexander3) if still interested :)

  13. jose says:

    I am 15 and i tell this to everybody, “i don’t care what you say or think i know there’s more to life than just school”. But they just doubt me but i know school is just a chain that goes around and around, from generation to generation thinking that’s the only way to succeed in life when there is more than just one possible road to success. One day I would like to be able to prove that and show people that it could make a difference in our world if people started to think this way.

  14. Wonderful article. Indeed I wished I had known I can be different (growing up in one of the communist countries), and I wish I can understand now (even if late) that I can work for myself, instead of others. I also hope my daughter will learn all these 8 lessons earlier.

  15. Hi Ani,
    This is a great list.

    Unfortunately all those things you mention are very important and totally ignored by our education system.
    I think you are spot on and I totally agree with all of them!

    Nice blog! Continue you good work!

  16. I completely agree that high school didn’t teach us how to do the vast majority of these things. Rather than teaching us how to problem-solve (and by extension, having us fail), high school teachers force us to memorize factoids, thereby leaching creativity and replacing it with a fear of talking risks. Read more at my blog post: The Last Day of High School

  17. Beth says:

    What’s up every one, here every person is sharing such experience, so it’s nice to read this website,
    and I used to visit thiis web site every day.

  18. Thank you for every other informative web site. Where else could I
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  1. July 25, 2015

    […] Original Source Article Posted with Kind Permission from Ani Alexander […]

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