Home > Daily Prompt > We Don’t Need No Education

We Don’t Need No Education

Daily Prompt: Fifteen Credits – Another school semester will soon begin. If you’re in school, are you looking forward to starting classes? If you’re out of school, what do you miss about it — or are you glad those days are over?

I would like to start by making it clear that I don’t agree with Pink Floyd’s cleverly ironic assertion “We don’t need no education” – I just thought it was a cool title.

However, that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t complain if I had to go back and do it all over again. I’ve often heard it quoted that “school days are the best day of your life.”

Excuse me? I don’t often use swear words on this blog, but I’m afraid that this quote earns a bit fat “bollocks”. For anyone who has heard this quote and is still at school, please don’t panic – it’s not true!

Don't Panic

Kids go back to school in around 3 weeks or so and I am so glad I’m not one of them.

Just to clear up any misunderstandings here between various countries, here are the UK definitions:

School” – ages 5-16 (compulsory age range), occasionally also 16-18 if the school has a “Sixth Form”
College” – ages 16-18, also adult education (“Further Education”)
University” – ages 18 up (“Higher Education”)

I believe that some countries use the word “school” for more than just your compulsory education – this post is about the standard 5-16 year old education. I wanted to make this clear because university was awesome (I never went to college so I can’t speak for that).

My very first day at school, they rang the bell after playtime and I went to the wrong class. When I got to mine, I couldn’t open the heavy sliding door so I stood outside looking in until someone noticed me. Obviously this wasn’t the best of omens for the next 11 years of my life.

At senior school (age 12-16) I was fat, in all the top classes and wore big thick government-issue glasses. I was also the spitting image of a loser in a very popular kids’ TV programme. I’m not posting the photo again, it’s too embarrassing. You can find it here.

This combination does not bode well. I was bullied a bit, but not in the way that “bullying” seems to be these days. Nobody stole my lunch money and I was only ever punched once (right in front of a teacher, ha ha), and I must admit I was passive-aggressively winding the guy up all through the lesson. So possibly I was “asking for it”.

I hated maths lessons. I couldn’t do maths then and I can’t do it now.

Quadratic Equations

Yoinks – what can this mean?

Don’t get me started on Latin. Wednesday afternoon – “Triple Latin”. Triple Latin? That’s illegal, surely.

Lorem Ipsum

Triple yoinks!

We were treated like kids because we were kids, but that didn’t make it any easier to take.

University, now that’s a different kettle of fish. The ideal middle ground between freedom and responsibility. Bills to pay, looking after yourself but with the freedom to live your own life all within the safe university environment, with plenty of people to help you out. A sort of training ground to life. I loved it!

I wouldn’t mind living my university days again, but school – never.

  1. carrico
    August 22, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Triple yoinks, said the Yank.


    • August 22, 2013 at 9:45 am

      Triple yoinks, indeed!
      A “triple” lesson was only an hour and a half, but that’s a long time for a kid to concentrate on something like Latin!


  2. August 22, 2013 at 7:57 am

    University WAS great. I keep trying to explain to my granddaughter that however horrific high school, is, she will like university. It is — for most of us — the best part of being young.

    You don’t need math for physics? I was never any good at math, except algebra (until quadratic equations, at which point I was lost and never found again), but have had to learn a lot having fallen into the computer world … but it’s a different way of using numbers than anything I learned in school. I always thought physics and math were joined at the hip. Obviously I don’t know much!


    • August 22, 2013 at 9:53 am

      You do know much! Yes, you need maths to do physics. Here’s the thing – I’m rubbish at numbers, they get all confused in my head. I’m rubbish at solving things like multidimensional integral equations. Some of my friends immediately saw how to do them, but it never clicked for me. Fortunately I’m great at algebra, which is exactly what I needed to rearrange my equations.
      As for first and second year applied maths, I scraped by in the high 40% range – enough to pass and my other grades (which were in the 80s and 90s) balanced it out!

      You can tell your granddaughter that I agree completely with you about university. Absolutely the best years of my life, no question. Not to be missed!


  3. Gilraen
    August 22, 2013 at 8:01 am

    For school it would highly depend on the exact time After all 11-13 years is a long long time. I would not want to redo my primary years (5-11) Loved learning hated school. I was bullied by both classmates and in one case a teacher. If it had not been for my brother beating up one of my classmates when things nearly got physical it would have been worse.
    Secondary 11-18 for me got gradually better, specifically when I could give up languages Would not mind redoing those years from say 14 except for having to do the exams (and because I took a long road I had to sit them twice in two different school types)
    But the feelings that come with the secondary age group of angst and puberty No thanks that is not worth a repeat


    • August 22, 2013 at 9:56 am

      I’m the other way round – primary school was OK but not secondary school. Ages 16-18 (Sixth Form) wasn’t too bad. I wouldn’t do 12-16 again if you paid me!


  4. August 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I’ve always liked how you Brits say “maths” (plural) for a subject we refer to in the singular! I wonder why that is?
    I agree with you about school, but I’d even go so far as to include college (our “uni”) in the “would rather not go back” pile! I just said to my daughter the other day (she began her Senior yr in college, 2 days ago) how relieved I was to graduate college and never have to set foot in a school again! Don’t get me wrong…I LOVE learning, and did back when I was a kid, but the structure and rules surrounding educational institutions always stuck in my craw!
    P.S. your schools go back “late” compared to ours, which as I just mentioned re-opened this week!


    • August 22, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      From what I’ve seen of US universities on TV, there are far more rules. In the UK there are no queues to sign up to classes, no registers in lectures, no “single sex dorms” (or is that a thing of the past?), no problems with “having someone sleep over”; you’re expected to pretty much manage yourself. You’re treated as an adult.
      You pass, great. You fail, you try a catchup and if you fail that, you’re out. Everybody’s there to help, but nobody’s there to coddle you.
      And if you sign up to do say physics, that’s what you do. Physics. Nothing else. I see people on US TV signing up to all sorts of unrelated stuff, a bit like at school.


  5. August 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    I would only want to go back to school so I can achieve “deferred success”! 🙂


    • August 22, 2013 at 5:43 pm

      Ha ha, yes, that would definitely be worth it. It looks much better than “Class Failed” on the old report card!


  6. August 22, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    I like the sounds of your school system better than our set up here in North America (Canada for me)… I learned a lot during my secondary years (senior school) but it was all life lessons education wise I don’t recall learning all that much even though I had decent grades… School was tough, being a teenager was tough, sealing with peers was tough… I have no desire to do it again and agree completely triple yoinks! (thank God we don’t do Latin in school here!!!)


    • August 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      To be fair Latin is an amazing way of learning English grammar – you can’t learn Latin without learning how English works first!
      And you can sound really educated and pompous at parties by saying something like “ah yes, that comes from the Latin …. you know” 🙂
      That said, triple Latin was still above and beyond anyone’s definition of sane.


  7. August 22, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    That picture is the best! (And you should make it your new profile picture!)


    • August 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      If you’re referring to my school-days picture I’m thinking… no 🙂


  8. August 22, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Ah come on Drali you look totally adorable in that picture 🙂 I like Latin, was thinking about picking it up again but then I realized I’m still busy trying to master (well master) English and Spanish.. so maybe in a few years. Till then I stick to swearing in Latin 😀

    But how can’t you do manths? You’re a physicists right? (Or I might have translated that wrong.. hmm dear Mr. Google)

    Bullocks indeed. Sometimes I wonder if it would be child abuse to send my future kids to school!


    • August 23, 2013 at 5:06 am

      Yes, I am a physicist but I only managed to sneak through barely passing marks for maths. Fortunately I can do algebra-type maths which is what I needed to mess about with equations. I can’t do numbers, I get all confused when they get too big :-(.
      So you swear in Latin? That’s unusual 🙂


  9. August 27, 2013 at 5:33 am

    I’ve always enjoyed learning however I didn’t like school much. I wanted to go and liked the few teachers that taught class well.
    I was reasonably popular, had friends but it was all an act.
    What I always wanted was the brain cells and ability to understand it all.
    I knew I didn’t from an early age so some classes left me sad.
    I did ok but I always knew I was not as intelligent as I wanted to be.
    Hope that makes sense.


    • August 27, 2013 at 6:37 am

      I know what you mean.
      Sometimes I come across something that everybody else seems to understand but it just looks like a jumbled foggy mess to me no matter how hard I try. I used to wonder what was going on but now I just accept that there are some things I will never be able to understand. It makes me sad too.
      It’s horrible wanting to understand something but realising that you’ll never be able to 😦


  1. August 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

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