“When will I ever use this anyways?”

I was standing by the door of the classroom with the science teacher I was shadowing because my mentor teacher was sick. Their “ticket out the door” was for them to turn in the written down the formula for Barium Bromide and for Sodium Phosphate and answer 6 questions on the board about different formulas and solutions. They had worked on this stuff for a good 20 minutes. The teacher took paper after paper as all 38 of them shuffled out the door, turned to me and said “Don’t ever waste your time grading stuff like this.” and dumped all of them in the trash.


The hippie in me is cringing (hello? recycle bin?), and then the student who totally hates busy work in me is cringing, and then the future teacher that lays somewhere inside of me is having a seizure at the fact that this teacher

a. so obviously doesn’t care if they learned the concept and

b. so obviously doesn’t care that they just did the definition of busy work.


I hate busy work. What is the point? There is none, and I don’t like pointless things in the school environment. And so the teacher should be the one to filter out what is and is not important, and what the students can actually use later in life. Because if you asked a student, from Socrates to sodium solution to Shakespeare, none of it will prove useful, right?

Surprisingly, this guy thinks so too. His article is called Is Every Single Subject Taught in High School a Mistake? and by the end I found myself uncomfortable teetering towards agreeing with him.

He says that we should scrap Chemistry and Economics and instead teach Financial Literacy and just enough science to let us recognize when we are getting lied to. English and History makes the cut, sort of; he advocates to scrap shakespeare and endless paper and instead work on critically reading.

Give it a read- what do you think?


One thought on ““When will I ever use this anyways?”

  1. tealanaronn says:

    Lexy, I hate busy work. Especially in college when I am paying thousands of dollars out of my own pocket. I think some things we learn are VERY important, like the ability to speak, read, and write. Then there are some things we learn that are ridiculous. I will NEVER use all those weird math equations they tried to grill in my brain. Sometimes I wish I could skip school; they could just train me in everything I need to know about teaching 12th grade English and then if I decided I wanted to be an 8th grade English teacher- they would just train me in everything I need to know about teaching an 8th grade classroom.

    Overall, busy work sucks. I am learning in my Literacy and the Learner class to work backwords with an assignment. You have to know why you are assigning this and what the outcome should be of the students. Why do they need this knowledge? Etc. If you just do meaningless work- you get meaningless results.

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