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What Schools Should Teach

What should be taught

I went to school and learned reading, writing and arithmetic. Pretty much the basics along with science, history and geography. That was over 40 years ago and upon leaving school I joined the work world. No high school diploma or college degree, stumbling into the next phase of my life not really knowing what to expect. Sure didn’t learn about working, finances and planning for my future in school or maybe I wasn’t paying attention that day. “Experience is the best education you can get” At least that’s what my parents said. Been a long road and I’ve learned valuable life lessons to pass along to my kids that they don’t teach them in school, but should.

Working in the world is different for everyone so teaching about it in school might prove difficult. Kids should learn about working for a living from people who walk in all kinds of shoes. Teachers in school are just that, not your average Joe or Joan trying to make a living day to day. Schools need to open the doors of education allowing students to talk to and learn from the workers of the world, especially high school students. Kids don’t always listen to their parents so a different voice and opinion could be beneficial. Not all students want or can afford post-secondary education so for them learning more about the work world is essential.

So you finish high school, find a job putting in 40 or more hours a week making just enough to make it worthwhile. Got a car, a few bucks to party with and life’s good. With no immediate long term goals the years go by faster than you ever imagined. Then one day you turn 25. Holy crap, in 5 years I’ll be 30!! Ask yourself this “what have I learned since I left school?” My cars falling apart, I’m stuck in a low pay dead end job and I don’t have any money in the bank. Did they ever talk about this in school? Probably not or you weren’t paying attention that day. Bet your parents gave you some advice, but maybe you choose not to listen to them. Your future might look rather bleak. Trust me, there’s more to come if you don’t get a grip on your life real soon.

Question. Being out of school for many years and even though I had/have kids still going, how much do they teach high school kids about money? If schools don’t, I think they should allow your average Joe or Joan to bring in a taste of reality based on experience. Not some bank dude or financial advisor who would gladly use your money to make a bit of interest for you. Believe me, those people get a pretty big piece of the pie that you make, especially the banks. You get the crumbs. Learning from people who are willing to pass on their experience is priceless, you just have to pay attention. Eyes and ears wide open and brain like a sponge. Use your young years wisely and you will earn huge financial dividends as you grow old.

Retirement!! I’m fresh out of high school, have a decent job and have lots of time to think about that. Did they talk about retirement planning in school or like before, maybe you weren’t paying attention. Trust me, the average working Joe or Joan have a pretty good idea of what to expect when they are done with the work world. Maybe you’ll win the lottery and maybe monkeys will fly out of your butt! Most everyone I know spends a few hard earned dollars hoping to win the next big jackpot. If you think the government is going to help you if you can’t make it on CPP and Old Age Security, think again. The government is too busy spending or wasting our tax dollars and don’t give a crap about you when you stop supporting the system. You’re in your twenties, make a decent living and realise that putting money into retirement might be a good idea. But where? Lots of options to look at so my advice is to talk to people who have been there, done that. I personally look at most banks in a negative way, kind of a necessary evil. Their okay for making loans and the never-ending mortgage deal with, but for retirement investments, no way. Better off getting hooked up with a good financial planner in the long run. Plan for the golden years ahead of time cause you’re gonna need it!

So here I am standing in front of a grade twelve class, talking with and listening to their questions. I hope my answers will provide them with more than the schools are teaching them. Time for me to summarise my time spent with them. Might go something like this. “Choose your path early in life, allow yourself time to change direction if you choose or it becomes necessary. Along with learning from the teachers in school, start learning about life before you enter the work world. Use whatever resources you can, be a sponge and soak up whatever you feel is helpful. Like my parents said “experience is the best education you can get” so talk to those who have the experience.”

Given the chance to spend time with kids who need to know this, I would gladly offer my experience adding to what they learn in school.

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