- Australia. We learned about this country (and continent!) with such intensity and ferocity that I was certain it was incredibly more powerful than any other country (or continent!) in existence. Marsupials, Uluru (though when I was in school, we still called it Ayers Rock), the digeridoo, the fact that the koala is not actually a bear—I vividly remember learning about all of this stuff and am eagerly awaiting when this vital knowledge will be put to use.
- The need to operate a parachute in a group. Don’t get me wrong, Parachute Day was one of my favorite days in physical education, but I’m not sure what we were supposed to get out of that, or why we so frequently came back to The Parachute.
- Saving the tropical rainforest. To be sure, this is a very important cause, and preserving the biodiversity of the rainforest should absolutely be a priority. But—and maybe this is just a 90s thing because our country hadn’t embroiled itself in too many messes yet—it’s practically all we talked, danced, painted, and even sung about for an entire year.
- The likelihood of being kidnapped. I have about five strategies for how to talk my way out of getting into a stranger’s car, about ten “passwords” that I was told to use with my family and school to know if the person claiming to pick me up was really a relative, and a lifetime of paranoia any time I’m walking anywhere and I happen to see somebody drive or walk by.
- The food pyramid. I guess it’s not really the school’s fault that the science has been reversed and nutritional priorities should be virtually opposite of how they used to be taught, but at least I can claim that my undying love for carbs has a nutritional foundation.
- 5-paragraph essays. The truth is, most teachers reluctantly taught this style to cater to increasingly frequent standardized testing; plus, how were they to know that in 30 years writers could get away with composing their thoughts in list format?
- Playing the xylophone. Today, I wouldn’t even know where to find a xylophone to play the few songs I remember. I motion that schools should all start teaching kids how to play the guitar instead so that by the time they go to college, the stoner in the corner can at least play something worth listening to.
- The story that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Any time anything bad happened to anyone, teachers brought up this rumor. Not only did this story get tired, but the reality is that Jordan just didn’t make varsity as a sophomore—which almost no one does anyway.
- Number 2 pencils. Seriously, is there any other kind?
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