Lessons for real life

The Weekend Post - - Views -

WITH a fam­ily full of teach­ers it was prob­a­bly destiny that I should run in the other di­rec­tion and be­come a jour­nal­ist. Guid­ing and teach­ing young hu­man be­ings find­ing their way in life full of pim­ples, hor­mones, re­bel­lion and “the worst things ever” hap­pen­ing to them seemed like way too much pres­sure for me. It seemed much eas­ier to work with politi­cians and ruth­less cy­clones. I both ad­mire and am em­pa­thetic to­ward teach­ers be­cause every­one has an opin­ion on schools and what should be taught. Mainly be­cause we all have at least a bit of ex­pe­ri­ence that al­lows us to par­tic­i­pate in the con­ver­sa­tion and also be­cause we want the best ed­u­ca­tion for our chil­dren. A re­port this week claim­ing four out of five young Aus­tralians say they were never taught at school about su­per­an­nu­a­tion, the largest as­set they will prob­a­bly ever own, makes you won­der if some school lessons are miss­ing the mark. With­out a doubt ed­u­ca­tion be­gins at home but as we grow older (sniff, sniff) and hope­fully a lit­tle wiser (leave the wine bot­tle alone for a mo­ment) we all see things a lit­tle dif­fer­ently to when we were sit­ting in a class­room.

With a strong prac­ti­cal vein run­ning through my body here are a few lessons I think are rel­e­vant to­day.

Money and how to save it. It’s stag­ger­ing how many peo­ple are liv­ing from week to week. Ev­ery bit of fi­nan­cial ad­vice has got to help. And when did the world start think­ing credit cards were money? The plas­tic isn’t fan­tas­tic if you don’t have the cash to pay them off. WARN­ING ... again: Credit cards are not real money.

Gram­mar and sim­ple math­e­mat­ics. It’s hap­pened. I of­fi­cially sound like every­one’s grand­par­ents. But it’s true. Re­mem­ber the last time you needed al­ge­bra? Prob­a­bly not but I bet you sub- tract, add and di­vide your cash and choco­late cake among your loved ones. As for gram­mar, tex­ting can be fun but it’s use­less if you want to write any­thing of im­por­tance or value in life. “No wot I mean” ... (Ques­tion marks are op­tional nowa­days too.)

School of hard knocks. Men­tal health needs to be a na­tional priority. Un­for­tu­nately life is full of re­jec­tion, there are win­ners and losers and hard work is re­quired. So let’s get real and give real ad­vice on how to deal with the bad stuff. Cook­ing. For­get MasterChef or My

Kitchen Rules and the McDon­ald’s driv­ethrough for that mat­ter. Feed­ing your­self and your fam­ily doesn’t have to be out of the pages of a Nigella cook­book; it can be quick, nu­tri­tious and af­ford­able.

Lan­guages. Schools teach them but what good is learn­ing Ja­panese for five years if you can’t or­der noo­dles in Tokyo?

The say­ing is horses for cour­ses but maybe we should be look­ing at the right cour­ses for horses.

IT’S A TOUGH WORLD OUT THERE FOR EVEN THE BEST ED­U­CATED BUT DE­SPITE THE EF­FORTS OF OUR TEACH­ERS SOME OF TO­DAY’S STU­DENTS ARE LEFT A LIT­TLE SHORT ON PRAC­TI­CAL KNOWL­EDGE THAT COULD PROVE VI­TAL IN THE LONG RUN

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