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Things I wish I’d learned in school

Somewhere between the physics, calculus, English lit, physiology and other big important classes of my senior year in high school, I took typing.

It was a very simple class, really just muscle-memory stuff – which fingers hit which keys on a QWERTY keyboard. And I, know-it-all 12th grader, already enrolled in college and suffering from senioritis, pooh-poohed it as unimportant.

I was a fool, of course. Typing turned out to be one of the most important skills I ever learned. Indeed, I’ve used it nearly every day of my life since then (I’m using it right now), and am infinitely grateful to the teacher, whose name I forget, for putting up with punks like me.

The lesson from that typing class, besides how to type, is this: Humble, everyday knowledge can be the most useful knowledge later on in life. But schools don’t typically teach humble, everyday knowledge – it’s just not what’s wanted. What’s wanted, by college admission boards and state departments of education, is high-level proficiency in computer science, mathematics and other rarified forms of knowledge. And that knowledge must be testable, too, with high marks in all the right places.

Or you’re considered a loser.


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