Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Useless Things We Learned in School

Warning! This is not to be read by anyone under the age of 18! Remember all those mind-numbing things we had to learn in school? If you didn’t become a teacher, how many do you still use now? This is my list. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments:

10.  The Pythagorean Theorem:  A squared plus B squared = C squared. That equation is so archaic that I don’t know how to make the “squared” sign using a keyboard.

9. 9.81 m/s2: Again with the squaring?!!? What the hell? Why did old school scientists and mathematicians feel the need to square everything? I don’t square anything in adulthood but I still know that 9.81m/s2 is how fast something will fall due to Earth’s gravity. I know it, but have never once needed that knowledge in adulthood and yet stuff keeps falling.

7. The Magna Carta: Yeah, Regents Honors History in 10th grade. Some sort of weird English peace treaty originally written in Latin. I have rarely been asked to preside over international disputes in Europe, but when I am, I intentionally never refer to the Magna Carta. It sounds like some kind of champagne doesn’t it?

6. Pi: 3.14. We all know it, but when have we ever put it to practical use in adulthood. My favorite pie is a two way tie between pecan and pumpkin. 3.14 is way down that list. When Agent Cooper said “Diane, if you ever get up this way, that cherry pie is worth a stop,” what town was he visiting?

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5. Finding a book in the library using the Dewey Decimal System: Are there even books in libraries anymore? Ok, even back in the day, why didn’t they put all the books in alphabetical order?

4. Alphabetical order: Seriously, who cares what order the letters are in? Our keyboards don’t have them that way anymore.  I’d be surprised if kids even know how to recite the alphabet in order. And why would you want to? Is there a word that’s spelled that way?

3. The baking soda and peroxide volcano: Of all the dumb stuff we learned in school, this was one I hoped would carry over into adulthood but alas, there are no jobs for “pretend volcano engineers.”


2. Square dancing: I don’t know if everybody’s school district did this, but we were forced to do square dancing for five weeks in phys. ed. class every year through 10th grade. It’s like they were training us to be Amish, and we weren’t in Pennsylvania! I think it was just to teach the boys not to be scared of the girls. (that’s me on the right)


1. Writing in Cursive: Besides our signature on legal papers, is there a reason we need this skill anymore? To be honest I often “electronically sign” work stuff on the computer by typing my name. We spent an entire school year learning cursive when I was 8 years old. Why weren’t they teaching me HTML code? Or blogging?

As always, if you enjoyed #ThePhilFactor please feel free to share by the Facebook, Twitter or re-blog button below. Have a great Tuesday! ~Phil

29 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday! Ten Useless Things We Learned in School

  1. I did become a teacher and still does use any of these! Great post!

  2. Dumb and yet so much nostalgic…… I miss that it was so easy to be happy back then……. 😛

  3. We also learned that Pluto was a planet. Who knew they were going to take that away?

  4. #6 – Twin Peaks, of course! And the trees, oh the trees!! 🙂

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  6. Totally stolen your idea Phil – I’ve credited you in the post because of my blatant stealing too!

  7. Again, Phil, cackling out loud. Yes, the square-dancing! Why, oh why, were we subjected to that? And i’m so glad that when you’re presiding over international disputes, you don’t bring up the Magna Carta. It’s so dated, after all. LOVED this.

  8. Not to be read by anyone over the age of 18…hmmm…because I think my son already wrote something really similar….wait a minute!!!….

  9. I still use most of these, but I was a classroom teacher and am now a homeschool teacher. Not so much with the square dancing, but I do swing dance. Twin Peaks…I remember watching it as a kid, but my parents wouldn’t let me watch the series finale. They thought it was too scary. And there was a guy who lived across the street who looked like BOB.

  10. Twin Peaks forever!
    Oh, the math problems……every time the problem started with “Two trains left the station at the same time….” a huge iron gate would clang down on my mind. , I didn’t care what time they left or when they each arrived, so why bother trying to find out? As far as cursive writing is concerned, there were many, many times I wished my students had learned it so I could decipher their hand-written essays in class.In self-defense, I had them print.

  11. I forgot all about #9!

    *shudder* to the square dancing memories. I’m going to go crawl into a fetal position and cry now.

  12. DEWEY DECIMAL system! I forgot about that one!

  13. I’m with you on all of it, right up to cursive. I can’t believe kids can’t read cursive anymore. It’s ridiculous. I don’t know that we need penmanship awards and all that smack, but honest to goodness, yes, reading cursive is a skill everyone should have.
    Letters of note, for one.

  14. Suddenly I feel like my education was seriously lacking. I only learned 3 of those 10. I LOVE cursive writing and I mourn that it’s not taught anymore, the alphabet is king, and the Magna Carta is … well, 2 out of 3 isn’t bad.

    Square dancing? Seriously?!!!

  15. meandcoffeefairy

    Cursive writing is only dying for the invention of the keyboard, and not our mama’s old typewriter keyboard, but the electronic one we are using to type right now on. Like the invention of the calculator, would spell the death for the slide ruler, it’s called progress. Oh yes, I was born and raised in square dancing and ‘shaggin’ last stronghold.

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