What do you wish you were taught at school?

A surprisingly regular topic of conversation among my social circle is how, as aspiring adults, we wish we had been taught about certain things at school (like mental wellbeing, mortgages and how to ask for a payrise) and how different our lives could be if we had been better prepared to navigate some of the nuances of adulthood when we ventured out into the “real world”. I was really curious as to whether this was something that other people thought about and, if so, what they thought our education was missing and so…

Anneli - Crush - Illustration Four PNG.png

I asked the Internet “What do you wish you were taught at school?”

And I picked out the duplicates from HUNDREDS of responses and compiled this awesome list of things you wish you’d been taught at school.

A couple of people did respond to some of these suggestions to say something like “tHiS iS a PaReNtS’ jOb” and I get it, I do, but it’s important to remember that not all kids come from homes where the parents are willing, able or equipped to pass this stuff on to their children; not all parents know this stuff themselves and some kids don’t have parents at all. I personally think that society works best when children are educated equally, so that they could move into their adult lives on as level a playing field as possible.

Exam results and grades are a good way of monitoring kids’ progress, but how useful are they really for the actual children and young adults? I firmly believe that schools should be preparing kids as much for living independently, functioning in society and navigating the workplace as much as they are preparing them for Higher Education and it seems that most of you feel as strongly about this as I do.

I’ve grouped the responses I received into 4 categories: Financial, Health & Wellbeing, Social Skills & Relationships and Misc. Also a giant shout out to the person who said they wished they were taught Defence Against the Dark Arts because… well just because really. Looking at this list, I actually think a lot of these topics (especially the communication related ones) could be started as early as primary (elementary) school.

Whoever is in charge of the curriculum (because nobody taught me that either) take note, we have some serious feedback for you.

Things we weren’t taught at school but wish we had been

FInancial

  • How to balance a checkbook

  • How the stock market works

  • How investments work

  • About different taxes

  • How to pay bills

  • What a mortgage is

  • How to pay rent

  • About credit ratings

  • Household budgeting

  • Self employment and related tax returns/expenses

  • How to start a business

  • Applying for loans/grants

  • Storecards and Credit Cards

  • Understanding interest rates

  • Debt education

  • Banking and different types of accounts

Health & Wellbeing

  • Mental Health Awareness

  • Self Care

  • When to seek medical advice

  • Sexual Health

  • First Aid (physical and mental)

  • CPR

  • Emotional skills (e.g. how to cope with failure)

  • Coping with Trauma

  • About the female orgasm

  • Reproductive health

  • Masturbation

  • Proper period education (including what’s normal and what isn’t)

  • Eating disorder education

  • Body confidence

  • Self Esteem

  • Puberty in both genders FOR both genders

  • Meditation and Mindfulness

  • How important it is to nourish your body

  • How important it is to rest your body

  • How to be kind to yourself

Social Skills & Relationships

  • Emotional literacy

  • Boundaries

  • How to behave in a workplace

  • How to deal with bullying

  • How to deal with bullying in the workplace

  • How to say no (in many situations)

  • History of different cultures and societies

  • Unbiased religious education

  • History of women

  • Sexuality

  • Consent

  • That sex can be recreational and not only for reproduction/love

  • The differences between abusive and healthy relationships

  • How to spot an abusive relationship

  • LGBT+ education

  • Gender studies

  • How to have healthy relationships

  • How to stay married

  • Empathy

  • How to be kind

Other

  • Basic plumbing

  • How to run a home

  • Different languages from a younger age

  • Basic engineering

  • Philosophy

  • Moral ethics

  • Basic cookery (that is practical)

  • How to apply for jobs

  • Basic Law for the country you live in

  • Politics

  • International politics

  • Public speaking

  • Meal planning

  • Basic DIY

  • True history (including the atrocities committed by our home countries)

  • Survival skills

  • Gardening

  • How to sew a button (and other Home Ec stuff)

Anneli - Tea - Illustration Five PNG (1).png

Well gang, what do you think? Is there anything else you’d like to have been taught at school but weren’t? Do you agree with the list? Do you think there’s a more effective way of delivering this kind of education without further burdening our schools? Are there any things you were taught but feel you could have done without? Are you a teacher? - if so, what do you think?

I read all comments and try to respond to as many as I can, so feel free to drop bits of your brain below - or come @ me over on Twitter, where I spend 99.99% of my day (because I was never taught any better…)

with love,

Anneli xoxo