There are few professions more noble that teaching, and today, on Teacher’s Day, we’d like to let all teachers out there know how much we appreciate what they taught us in school. They did their best to make sure that we received a quality education and we probably wouldn’t be who we are today without their guidance. Yet we’re hardly likely to learn anything practical in school. It’s not their fault - the system is broken and archaic. But wouldn’t it be awesome to emerge from a 14-year stint in school with some real world knowledge? Here are some of the things we wish we were taught in school:  

Lesson 1:

“Station A and Station B are 450 km apart. Train 1 leaves Station A at 9 am and Train 2 leaves Station B at 11 am. Train 1 is travelling at 40 kmph and Train 2 is travelling at 60 km. Assuming that both the trains are moving towards each other in a straight line, at what point will I LEARN HOW TO CONDUCT MYSELF WITH CONFIDENCE DURING AN INTERVIEW?” Speaking before an audience with confidence and flair is a great skill to pick up before full-blown adulthood hits you. Interviews (during college, with prospective employers, clients) and presentations are going to be a big part of life but we’re hardly ever taught how to get through them successfully.  

Lesson 2:

“Shyam earns Rs 25,000 per month. If his rent is Rs 8,000 and all his other fixed expenses come up to Rs 6,000, how much money does Shyam have left for the month to spend on frivolous things that he doesn’t really need? Bonus question: How many years will it take before Shyam looks back and regrets not putting aside some money every month to guarantee his future isn’t bleak?” Money Management. Two words that strike fear into the hearts of most new college graduates. Some basic lessons in personal finance would go a very long way in ensuring that we learn how to take care of ourselves. After all, how long can we depend on our parents to take care of our affairs?  

Lesson 3:

“Give reasons for: Your inability to mobilise action against a government you feel doesn’t represent you adequately.” So you’re angry with the government and you want to be able to do something, but what? Wouldn’t it be great if we were aware of our rights as citizens? Sure you learned civics in school, but most of what we learned was the absolute basics. How do you file an FIR? Or an RTI application? What are your rights when you’re in trouble with the police? It always helps to be prepared.  

Lesson 4:

“True or false: You are the centre of the universe.” If you answered ‘true’ then there’s some shocking news for you. You aren’t. Not by a long shot. Learning to place the needs of others ahead of your own, within reasonable limits, is an essential life skill that should be instilled from a young age.  

Lesson 5:

“Answer in detail: What do you want to do with the rest of your life?” So you’ve learned the chemical structure for the latest abomination in your organic chemistry textbook, and you can rattle off the dates for the major events in our struggle for Independence, but you’re no closer to knowing what you want to do for a living. You’re not the only one. There is constant pressure to be at the top of your class, before you go to engineering/medical/accountancy school and pick a ‘safe’ career. What’s missing is the freedom to choose: subjects like sports, philosophy, art and design are still considered frivolous.


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