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Extra-Curricular Classes They Should Teach in High School


I admire teachers.  I really do. I come from a family of educators, but the thought of spending 8 hours surrounded by moody teenagers sounds like hell to me.  Thank goodness so many people – much better than myself – take on this daunting task everyday.  That said, I sometimes wish there were some extra subjects taught in school.  Just once a semester, it would great if they could slip in a class that helped you in not purely academic ways. Of course, no amount of extra-curricular course work would solve all our issues, but I wish we had a few ground rules for a few subjects.  And yes, I understand that parents and siblings are there for these reasons, but there are some topics even they aren’t helpful with. Sure, I can find out about sex from my parents because, you know, they’ve had it (not that I wanted to hear it from them), but my mom did not know to warn me about the dangers of drunk dialling. Or why did NO ONE in my economics class tell me how easy it would be at 23 to completely fuck up my FICO score? Seriously. While I still advocate the teaching of literature, science, math, history and all the good stuff, wouldn’t it be nice to have a few classes where someone’s goal was merely ‘this is going to save you some serious headaches later in life’? Here are my suggestions for a few classes I would like to have offered. Had I known what was coming in life, I would have taken them.

1. How to Style Your Hair
After the age of 12, girls are on their own.  You don’t want your mom’s help anymore, you’re over braids and bows, and in a defensive teenage reaction, you shun your mother’s advice and fend for yourself.  Alone in the bathroom you will meet some bad perms, a really bad summer of Sun-In, homemade highlights, cutting your own bangs, bad coloring from a box, and just too much time with a curling iron.  While we all laugh at the photos of our past bad hair, it would have been nice if someone could have walked me through some basics for my straight, boring, kind-of-thin hair.  Maybe a few tips for a sexy up-do or a basic chignon, which every magazine tells me I should know how to do.  Ever seen a makeover show and the person has been wearing their hair the same for a decade? That’s because that’s all she knows how to do! Most men have short hair and their skills are basically molding with gel. A 4th grader can master this.  Somehow I’m supposed to be able to Beyonce my hair and have curls, wavy hair, blow outs, braids, low-ponytails, fishtails, beach hair, sexy hair, chignons, and a shit ton of other things that are beyond my basic hair capabilities.  I just think a hair class would have been really helpful.

2. Credit Cards, Debt, 401K, Roth IRA, Mutual Funds, and FICO score 101
Couldn’t this have been covered in Economics? I took Honors Economics, and while I can discuss the results of Reaganomics and the trickle down theory, or the history of Keynesian economics – I’m still struggling to raise my FICO score and start an IRA.   A class that broke down how quickly you can amass credit card debt and what paying the minimum gets you, may have had a greater impact on my life than my paper on the Privatization of Economies After Glasnost. Just saying.

3. The dangers of drunk dialing
In high school, I was an officer in S.A.D.D (Students Against Driving Drunk) and participated in the D.A.R.E program.  While I hate to admit that I was a big prudy dork in high school, I was a big, prudy dork, and I think these programs worked.  In fact, I remember that commercial where a girl had the frying pan (playing on the “this is your brain (shot of an egg), this is your brain on drugs (frying the egg)” and then just smashed the shit out the room destroying everything in site saying “this is your brain on heroin.” That commercial scared the pee out of me.  But with the domination of cell phone use, smartphones and social media – I think a similar afterschool/ad campaign program should be set up for the dangers of drunk dialling/texting. Couldn’t there be a class where women read out loud the lame, pathetic texts they’ve sent after 1am? It’s not smashing up a kitchen with a frying pan, but it’s equally as horrifying.

4. How to Take a Good Photograph
Facebook photos can be tricky. Somedays I go on and someone I hardly remember from high school has scanned and uploaded mortifying pictures from the 90’s. I’m not opposed to sharing photos and the ease and use of digital photography, I just wish I didn’t cringe everytime I looked at a picture and wonder why I had an extra chin. At age 15, it would have been awesome for someone to come in and show ways to look 10 pounds slimmer by standing with your hand on your hip. Or I really would have appreciated someone telling me that if I stand to the side with with my arm facing the camera, it will look like a giant sausage and I’d spend most of my adult years trying to hide my fat arms in photos.


5. How to Make a Great Wedding Speech
We’ve all been to a wedding, and at some point the best man/maid of honor speech duty will come your way. From a girl who has been in a lot of weddings, gone to a ton of weddings, and used to cater at a wedding facility – a lot of wedding speeches suck. Some people just read off a paper, and while the speech isn’t that bad the delivery is horrible. Others wing it and end up embarrassing the bride, the groom, the family, or all of the above. Some’s speeches focus solely on their friendship with the bride/groom and forget it’s a speech about two people and not some weird memory of a drunken evening when they were 19.  A class that just hit some high notes, maybe gave out a few key quotes to slip in for an added touch, or some basic do’s and don’t – like let’s not share some crazy sex story while your grandmother is eating chicken kiev might be a good start.

6. How to Be a Good Roommate
I’m not sure if it’s spoiled children, over indulgent parents, or just people who don’t give a shit about themselves or others – but I feel safe in saying in your life you will encounter a horrible roommate. Nobody thinks they are horrible to live with, yet all of us have a horror story, so I’m convinced there are tons of unsuspecting people who will leave dishes in the sink, not pay rent on time, have really loud sex with a lot of different people, never lock the doors, borrow your clothes without asking, never clean the bathroom, leave their dirty underwear on the bathroom floor, eat your food and basically drive you insane.  A class listing the do’s and don’t of living with people, some tips on cleaning without your mother’s help, or how much people will discuss your foul living habits with friends might be useful – especially to guys.

I realize I’m not the only one who wishes there were a few more practical classes in school (cracked.com just did a very similar article (http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_244_16-lessons-you-wish-theyd-taught-in-school/) but I throw my suggestions into the mix, from a less cynical and more feminine approach. And I really mean it about the hair.


2 Responses to “Extra-Curricular Classes They Should Teach in High School”

  1. September 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Love this!!! Why did a group of us girls agree to having our picture taken with all of us sideways in our sleeveless dresses I’ll never know.

  2. Claudia Maittlen-Harris September 8, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    And the photographer suggested this!! Was he just evil, had vision problems or goes back to his studio to laugh at bad photos? I’ve been traumatized by my arms in photos ever since.

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