Things I Think We Should Be Taught More of in School

This post idea has been on my “post ideas” list for a long time now. I was planning on writing it around the beginning of Blogtober but kept putting it off and putting it off for some completely unknown reason. I don’t know whether I was worried that what I was going to say might anger people (even though that’s a ridiculous notion) or whether I wasn’t as outspoken enough to write a post like this but I figured to hell with those thoughts and wanted to write it anyway. Education is great – I loved school, truly loved it. But it’s no secret that schools, all schools, seriously lack certain elements of education that really, really need to be addresses. And if they are already addressed, chances are, students are still left in a haze of bewilderment because the teacher has scratched the surface of the topic and sent them on their way.

what-i-think-we-should-be-taught-more-of-in-school

Mental Health

Let me tell you a story about my own experience of mental health in school (more specifically, sixth form). I was of sound mental health back then. Nothing bothered me, literally nothing. But I remember one of my classmates having a panic attack in the common room one lunchtime and I had absolutely no idea what was happening. I was naïve and to be honest, quite selfish in that I just dismissed what was happening to her because I didn’t understand it. Now, this story doesn’t paint me in a very good light, I know and now, experiencing mental health worries myself, I’m quite ashamed of how I used to react to it when it happened to someone else illustrates my point that it should be taught in schools. I don’t remember any subject or any teacher ever mentioning mental health. Ever. But I believe it should be thoroughly taught to all students, whether they battle with mental health problems themselves or not. For those that do, it could be a lifesaver to know that their condition is being talked about and recognised. For those that don’t, it’s a good lesson to learn what it and what it looks like on others and how to react and help someone you know suffering.

Taxes, National Insurance – Grown up stuff basically!

I am currently self-employed. I have been for a little over 2 years now and whilst I’m doing the basics of what you need to do in order to be self-employed and not be doing anything you know, illegally, like noting down all the money I receive, filling out my tax returns and paying my national insurance, on a whole – I know bollock all about any of this. I’m winging it, basically. Or asking my mum for advice. Even she doesn’t really know what she’s doing! People have been self-employed for how long and there are thousands of people considering it now without really knowing what they’re supposed to be doing or whether it’s right for them. You might just call us lazy and tell us to research it but I think it would be much more beneficial to have this knowledge in your head way before the time comes to even consider it.

Sex Education

Now, you’ve heard this one before I bet? My sex education in secondary school consisted of condom and banana. And that’s about it. Despite the fact I went to an all girls school so that takes the embarrassment element out of these lessons completely. Thinking back at it now, I find it outrageous that a school full of girls was not taught more extensive sex education. I can think of so many instances where I was completely wrong or over-reacted because I didn’t have the knowledge I needed for these situations. I absolutely loved this post over on Cattitude & Co which goes into much more detail the things we need to include and be taught within sex education in school – aside from the basics.

Men & Women’s Health

Symptoms, prevention techniques – anything that will prevent young girls and boys having to Google the information and scaring themselves senseless. When I started checking my boobs (albeit 5 years after when I probably should have) I didn’t know whether what I was feeling was normal. I Googled and Googled and terrified myself to the point of tears every day because I was scared something was wrong with me. I didn’t know how to check boobs properly either. Again, something I wasn’t taught in school. Again, an all girls school. Same sex school or not, I think health is important. Obviously. We should be taught gender specific health conditions so we know what to look out for and obviously gender neutral conditions too. It’s all good sending girls in for their cervical cancer jab at the age of 15 but we need to know what else to look out for. Nobody knows our bodies better than us and the younger we’re taught all of this, the better.

What do you think should be taught more extensively in schools? Were you taught any of the subjects mentioned above? Let me know.

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22 thoughts on “Things I Think We Should Be Taught More of in School

  1. I completely agree with this list! Mental health is so lacking. Sex ed at my school wasn’t too bad, as long as you’re straight! Nothing beyond that. I’m very scared of the adult world next year, hopefully I know enough to survive? Honestly though, what would we do without the Internet, it’s a lifesaver 🙂

    • “As long as you’re straight” that definitely needs to be addressed in schools! That sex isn’t just a clean cut “penis in vagina” act. There’s so many other things that fall under the “sex” umbrella but we need to be taught the safety of all of them and know that if we don’t want to have “normal” sex that’s okay and there are other options!

    • I did philosophy in sixth form for A Level and I adored it but it was a chosen subject and not something everyone has to do. Probably more in depth than what you suggested but basic ways of thinking and looking at the world would be so beneficial!

  2. I completely agree with your points here, Jenny. Mental Health especially, it’s no wonder so many adults are ignorant let alone the children. Mental Health is so important to understand.

    Although I feel it comes under a subcategory within Mental Health, I’d add something like “Happiness”. Maybe just how to be grateful and appreciate what we have now, and how money won’t solve all our problems. My experience with school was that it was always a pathway to the future, I was working in School to get to Six-Form, from College to University, then from University into my career… I needed my degree to get a good job, a good job to get a good wage, etc etc. Looking back, what a terrible attitude that is. We shouldn’t just gear kids up for the future, we should let them be kids, and we should teach them that they can enjoy the present, rather than continually being focused on making money in some dead end job later in life.

    I’d also second what Doddyaboutbooks commented. Philosophy would be a great subject. We touched on it in my school, but it wasn’t until University that we really got to study it and, well lets just say it completely changed my mind set about the world.

    • Ah see I chose to take philosophy in sixth form – it wasn’t compulsory so I did get the philosophy education but only because I wanted it. And it was fantastic! Mental health and other career options OTHER than university are popular choices!

      • I took Psychology at Sixth Form so I kinda touched the Mental Health sides of things… So between us we had it covered! I think both Psych-Philo need to be brought actually in the curriculum though, rather than just being optional choices.

        We used to have one lesson every two weeks on something like “Public Studies” or something, and you’d think they covered this kind of stuff there… But I can only remember learning about greek mythology and watching Bowling for Columbine… 😐

  3. Topics that you have included in this post are really the one which have never been taught in school at all. We had some amount of sex education in our school , but that was also just the tip of iceberg they touched.
    I am more concerned about taxes and finance. I am employed presently and wanna start my own business soon. I have some product ideas but my main concern is that how will I be paying my taxes and managing my money. I know things can be learned, but then it would have been much better if it is taught in school.

  4. I discuss this very often in everyday life haha. My Mam and I agree there needs to be lessons like environmentalism, basic life skills (cooking, cleaning, looking after yourself) and money management (all the bills we have to deal with as adults, taxes, insurance etc).
    So many people I went to school with own their own houses but still take their washing home for Mammy to do and live off eating out or take aways. Basic living skills are needed badly. Our home ec was terrible…it was all just baking cakes and making fruit salad!

    Surprisingly, our sex ed in high school was pretty ‘good’. It was in a class called something else as it covered everything like drugs and stuff too but the teacher was brilliant and although it was embarrassing it was very informative.
    There was even a lesson where each table was given a different method of birth control and had to research it then give a presentation on it – boys and girls together – I thought that was pretty good.

    I agree with you overall. Education on a whole needs refreshed.

    xo

  5. I definitely agree with all these, especially the mental health aspect. When I was diagnosed with depression for the first time at 18, I didn’t feel nearly equipped enough to deal with it because I hardly knew anything about it. To me, it was this huge, scary illness that was going to limit what I could do and the quality of my life.

    I don’t know if this counts, but I think they should teach you about other paths to follow after school than just university. Don’t get me wrong, uni is great for some people but it’s not for everyone. My school was very much ‘you either go to uni or you do nothing’. Didn’t mention that you could work for yourself or you could take a path that was maybe a bit different to others. It was uni or bust with them. I was told at 16 that being an author wasn’t feasible and that I should choose something else. It’s not everyone who wants to go to uni and it’s not everyone who’s suited to it either. It’s just one of loads of options kids have and I don’t feel like the other ones are explored enough.

      • Yeah exactly. Uni is a great experience for some people, but for those who don’t want to go it’s sort of like ‘well what do I do now?’ And some might feel like they’re failing in some way because they either aren’t sure what they’d like to do or do know but aren’t quite sure how to achieve it.

  6. You’re so right! On the topic, last week we had an off-timetable day where we learned about that sort of stuff: politics, relationships, mental health, self defence and first aid. Obviously, they didn’t have a whole lot of time to cover it in a lot of detail, but at least it’s progress! 😀

  7. I love this, I really think they’re lacking in teaching about all of these issues and especially mental health. People are so quick to judge people as having ‘nothing wrong’ just because it’s something you can’t see.

  8. OK, I am going to sound really old here – Yes, I completely agree that all of those subjects should be taught in school. And the “real-life” stuff like basic self care, basic home maintenance, managing your money etc. And I say yes, schools should definitely teach career alternatives. I was at high school in the 90s and my career advisor basically told me to go to sixth form, go to university, and then be a teacher. They didn’t advise me which subjects to teach, or even the difference between primary and secondary education. And god forbid I should have aspirations of grandeur for some other kind of job – they were only for the special, posh people that were more intelligent than us. I also had no Google to explore, nor even regular internet access, so my research was all from text books in the library. Wow, I’m going to polish my reading glasses now 😉

    • Oh no I agree you’re not the first person to mention basic self care but that completely slipped my mind when writing this post. The amount of people who don’t know how to use a washing machine or an oven is ridiculous!

  9. Have to agree with a lot of these, especially the taxes and general grown up stuff. Having just gone self-employed, I feel wholly unprepared and in the dark! I must say though, that my school were quite good with mental health, in so much as if you’d elected to take psychology at A-Level, one of the module was mental health and we went quite in depth on topics like Schizophrenia, depression, anxiety etc. But it shouldn’t have just been Psychology. It should have been a school wide topic.

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