My Common Core

Here is some of the knowledge that my schooling didn’t teach me, but that I have found useful or of interest (and have acquired via books, experience and asking people) in later life. Seeing as my ‘core’ is different to your ‘core’, I can only present these as the bits of knowledge that I would have liked school to teach me. You, I suspect, will have your own.

* The motorway network between Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and London.

* That Africa is a continent and not a country.

* That history was really interesting before they had kings and queens.

* Why you should always choose Easyjet over Ryanair if you have a choice.

* How to stop slugs eating my vegetables.

* Why you should never switch on a light with wet hands.

* That you have to pay to get into Wales but you don’t have to pay to get out.

* That what holds people back is not lack of knowledge, but lack of language.

* The works of Queen and the Undisputed Genius of Freddie Mercury.

* Great American authors of the 20th Century.

* Cash is not profit.

* How to actually speak a foreign language.

* That being ‘clever’ is not the same as being ‘wise’.

* That small babies sleep during the day and not at night.

* That you should check your tyre pressures regularly.

* That if I want to know where somewhere is, I should use a map rather than a sat nav.

* That it’s useful and polite to know (at least some of) the geography, cities and language of a country that I am going to visit.

* That it’s hard to wash tea or chocolate stains out of white t-shirts.

* That the internet eats your time.

* That a lot of the stuff on the internet is just marketing, really.

* That anonymity on the internet tends to unleash the rudeness that lives inside people.

* But that anyway, as Jim Morrison so memorably said, ‘People are strange’.

* That not everything that has value can be counted, and that not everything that can be counted has value.

* That swearing is a lot of fun, which is why adults don’t let children do it.

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2 Responses to My Common Core

  1. blueink21 says:

    I wish school had taught me that I was quite good at English.
    I wish school had taught me that I was clever enough to go to university (I went to art school which I absolutely loved but it was purely self-motivated and I felt the heavy label of an ‘average kid’ in my high school with no encouragement to go further).
    I wish school had had less bullies, less kids who smoked, and less kids who messed about.
    I wish school had not included metalwork, cookery, sewing, technical drawing or woodwork. ( I am very practical, love making stuff but these lessons were dull and lacked the freedom and creativity they should be based on. I think they may be better off in an extra-curricular context.)
    I wish school did not have metal scrapey chairs in the science labs.
    I wish I had felt that the teachers liked kids and wanted to be in school.
    I wish school had been friendlier, more comfortable and warmer.
    I wish I hadn’t had to go to school when I had my period and was in a lot of pain and discomfort.
    I wish I hadn’t had to do swimming at school
    I wish there had been private cubicles for getting changed and showered in PE
    I wish I had done Chemistry instead of Biology (better teacher, no scrapey chairs).
    I wish there hadn’t been school uniform
    I wish there hadn’t been as many school assemblies
    I wish they had let us stay inside for break times when it was cold
    I wish I had been made a prefect (I made up for this by becoming a teacher and finally getting to do break duty!)
    I wish I hadn’t had to carry a heavy bag to and from school and in between lessons for 5 years.

    I sat down to write content based things I wish had been taught and couldn’t think of any, but all this other stuff poured out!
    The discussion about content seems such a distraction to me. Its the way content is taught, the skills that you acquire that underpin everything and having a positive experience of education that seems more important to me.
    Content and knowledge seems so subjective – I think I had a balanced education generally in terms of content. What I am really grateful for is going on to sixth form and on to higher education and its from that that I developed a lifelong love of learning.


  2. suecowley says:

    Thank you. The child’s eye view is really enlightening when we think back to it.
    School is very much an emotional experience for children.


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