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Thread: What class in k-12 was the most worthless or worthwhile to you?

  1. #1
    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    What class in k-12 was the most worthless or worthwhile to you?

    In thinking about the benefits of educating people on household maintenance, I found myself reflecting on some of the classes I had in middle school and highschool that in hindsight, were actually pretty useful. In middle school we had a term of home ec and woodshop. In highschool I had a term of woodshop and electronic design--and I took a couple after school classes in desktop publishing.

    Of those classes, all but home ec have proven useful to me. The problem was that the home ec course was just so "bored housewife" in it's material. I've never done decorative cross-stitch since, though I have done embroidery and that I had to figure out as I went along. Similarly, baking peanut butter cookies in home ec didn't improve my kitchen skills so much as demonstrate to my classmates I knew how to bake and cook better than most of them. Which I ought to, being that I'd been baking my own fancy birthday cakes and preparing my own snacks and many of my own meals since the second grade.

    But, I remember that at the time, I felt like woodshop was deadweight. It was something I selected because I needed to select something. Now, I wish I'd taken more advantage of it. I made a nice box. I could have made several, or made a few other things, but at the time, I resented the need to buy material from the shop. Being poor, I was angry at passing that imposition on to my family.

    Yet, the lectures on shop safety made it so that learning to work in a shop environment was mostly review, and it decreased the time it took me to get comfortable using machines that could kill me in an instant if I were careless.

    Can't say the same about that quarter of "business writing".

    I'm uncertain what the most useful class was. I'll have to come back to that. But the biggest waste of my educational time were definitely home ec and "business writing"--save that business writing allowed me to transfer out of the honor's English class I'd been pushed into.

    How about you? What classes did you have to take that have never shown any value later in life? What has proven valuable? And what surprised you by proving useful?
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  2. #2
    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    worthwhile: my APs. studio art, lit & comp, art history. it's more advanced and it's for college credit. studio art boosted my confidence cuz i got a perfect score

    worthless: health, journalism, typing, all taught by the same lady lol. she was religious and just bad. this was middle school

    also worthless was HS anatomy & physiology, taught by a teacher who wasn't a science teacher. his primary interest was philosophy and on his off time he was a stand up comic. i made good friends in that class though.

    i guess all my math classes later proved to be somewhat useful. i got mediocre - bad grades (except in geometry, which i did very well in cuz i knew various eyeballing techniques), but i'm alright when it comes to practical application. obviously handy when it comes to design anything. btw this surprises lots of people but i only made it to algebra 2 after flunking the first time, and i was just done with math after that. i think the problem was that classes were just about going a linear path and getting one answer and everything else is wrong, so i didn't understand what anything was. back then, none of it clicked. also the classes were boring.
    Last edited by jigglypuff; 08-19-2016 at 08:09 PM.

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    Basic chemistry was extremely useful, considering I made a 14 year career out of knowing the ideal gas law and le chatelier's principle.

    Most useless? 7th grade Ohio History. Nobody gives a fuck about Ohio now, why do I need to know about 1700s Ohio? The only upside of that class was that the (possibly insane) teacher took all his classes on a bus trip to Washington DC every year over some long weekend. Why you'd want to take hundreds of 12 year olds to a strange dangerous city every year is beyond me. But as a kid growing up in bumfuck Ohio I got more stimulation in that one long weekend than I would normally get in an entire year.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    @starla, Nice! State history classes were so useless I completely forgot about them.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

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    Sysop Ptah's Avatar
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    All of what such school I attended was useless, with only one exception. My sophomore year in HS, my teacher-to-be came by my house the summer before I'd be in his class Junior year to drop off the book we'd be using for the AP programming course, a book on Pascal and C++. It was the first and only time a teacher showed genuine interest in my development. Years later after highschool, I took him out to dinner, in part to thank him for the positive influence he had on me. During that, I asked him why he dropped off the book he did. He said: he needed someone to help him with the teaching the class, and he'd heared of my proficiency and intrerest in coding, and that I'd be in his class.... It really was the most awesome and only positive memory of HS. Essentailly co-teaching the AP programming class to matheletes who were assumed to be disposed to programming, but were so evidently not.

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    igKnight Hephaestus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptah View Post
    All of what such school I attended was useless, with only one exception. My sophomore year in HS, my teacher-to-be came by my house the summer before I'd be in his class Junior year to drop off the book we'd be using for the AP programming course, a book on Pascal and C++. It was the first and only time a teacher showed genuine interest in my development. Years later after highschool, I took him out to dinner, in part to thank him for the positive influence he had on me. During that, I asked him why he dropped off the book he did. He said: he needed someone to help him with the teaching the class, and he'd heared of my proficiency and intrerest in coding, and that I'd be in his class.... It really was the most awesome and only positive memory of HS. Essentailly co-teaching the AP programming class to matheletes who were assumed to be disposed to programming, but were so evidently not.
    When I saw you'd posted, I knew what the first few words were going to be.

    One programming class I was in, I agreed to be in a study group prepping for a test. One of the people involved had a math degree already, and we were both amazed at how bad she was at programming given her previous experience. I think it depends on how well a person has internalized what they've studied, and what they chose to specialize in. A pure mathematician doesn't get much of a leg up, but an applied mathematician might. A geometer isn't going to get as much overlap as a graph theorist--or a general algorithmetician.

    Most of my studies were less triangle inequality and more algorithm, optimization, graph theory stuff. Ironically, those classes are harder as a programmer because they want you to prove things about trees that you just know, because you've been doing it forever. To put it another way, just because you know how to herd cattle doesn't mean you know dick about running a vineyard--or will even have any aptitude for it.
    --Mention of these things is so taboo, they aren't even allowed a name for the prohibition. It is just not done.

  7. #7
    Now we know... Asteroids Champion ACow's Avatar
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    Most of my computing classes were a complete waste of time. In my catholic school they had a PE teacher taking some of them for christ's sake. What is the point of sending kids to keyboarding classes that can already type? Did get some good times using the school network for a couple of lan gaming sessions before I left though. That was always awkward though. It was an incredibly grey area, involving trying to negotiate things with various teachers and being told we weren't allowed to do/install things on the computers and us trying to figure out alternative routes/people to go through. I think we only managed to pull it off once or twice. But those few times were pretty cool.

    I didn't mind messing with the guy who ran the ones in my last two years at the other school, but the truth of the matter was that some of us kids knew more than the teacher, so it was primarily a place for jerking around.

    I can't say that I had much value in high school. I'm struggling, i really am. Reading...outside of school. Music...outside of school. Math...i actually started failing that once I got to highschool. History we didn't really do much, but it was utterly pointless, children can't deal with history and most of the teachers at that level don't understand its value either. Religion was just well-meaning but factually incorrect often.

    Actually, i did a year of photography back before the end of non-digital. That was cool. Put that down for one of value.

    Otherwise...I'm really struggling to find one that was actually worth while or provided anything of value...

  8. #8
    Dr.Awkward Robcore's Avatar
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    While I loved art classes, I basically had to throw out everything I learned in school aside from rendering techniques in order to learn to draw properly.
    Photography was alright...basically just learned to describe principles that I intuitively appreciated in images already...but being able to describe things effectively is something I value greatly.
    That said, English classes were mostly useless. The assignments were after quantity, when I was all about quality. I couldn't bring myself to write pages about something when I only had a few worthwhile notions to express. Standard HS essay formatting was so monotonous and tedious and redundant. I only came to be a more proficient writer once I got into IMing and debating things over the Internet, lol.

    I mostly just coasted through it all with high marks and no effort...being proficient at perceiving what teachers wanted helped me to filter out a lot of unnecessary stuff...which might not have been the best for me as a learner, though it certainly made school a breeze at that time(and to be fair, life outside of school was heavy enough that the ease of school was probably more of a respite from things than I recognized at the time).

    I never learned good study habits, because I never studied.
    Even in college, I managed decent grades only because I have a good memory and good reasoning capabilities when it comes to test writing...not because I ever actually studied anything. In college, being able to perceive what teachers want you to say enabled me to write an 8 page essay on a book that I didn't even read...and I was the only person in the class to get 100%(I skimmed the last chapter the night before turning it in to find that the author's position was the opposite of what I'd assumed--so I just went through the essay and reversed the meaning of most of my sentences).
    I'd have probably been better off with more challenging and engaging education...
    As far as practical skills go, I think all the computer stuff I learned was well out dated by the time I graduated...and everything else failed to be even a building block for future practical skills. I probably gained more from playing hockey in those years than I did from attending school.
    ...the origin of emotional sickness lay in people’s belief that they were their personalities...
    "The pendulum of the mind alternates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong." ~Carl Jung

  9. #9
    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    Calculus was by far the most useless- I never needed anything beyond algebra for music.

  10. #10
    fluctuating Obfuscate's Avatar
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    biblical classes were the least useful... repetition does nothing for me... the bulk of most classes were useless for the same reason...

    math was the most valuable... at least as you reached the end of each year, there was a small amount of progression...
    Last edited by Obfuscate; 08-20-2016 at 08:03 AM. Reason: grammar
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