World, Writing, Wealth discussion

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The Lounge: Chat. Relax. Unwind. > What was your favorite subject at school?

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message 1: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13764 comments No school or no fav also go -:)
Sometimes these things are meaningless and have no further impact on someone's career, while for some others - a favorite discipline turns into a lifelong affair.
Did you have any? Have it influenced your career path?


message 2: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) It's a toss up for me. In my senior year, I took Modern Western History, Science and Society, and Post-Colonial Literature. All three were wonderful subjects that have had a lasting impact on my life and the way I see the world.


message 3: by Leonie (new)

Leonie (leonierogers) | 1579 comments I enjoyed English, but also science.

Nowadays, I'm a physiotherapist (science) and of course write books in my spare time (English!)


message 4: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5516 comments Happy to have you back, Nik. English (I became an English teacher) and science (still interested and learning).


message 5: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13764 comments Scout wrote: "Happy to have you back, Nik. .."

Thanks, Liz, glad to be back -:)


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13764 comments I attribute my passion for travel to geography being my favorite subject and atlas - one of the favorite books -:)


message 7: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Williams (houseofwilliams) Scout wrote: "Happy to have you back, Nik. English (I became an English teacher) and science (still interested and learning)."

How awesome. How can I help???


message 8: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan I found learning English to be bewildering, and it's my native language.

The important things I learned at school are as follows.

[1] Only get in fights with people who are bigger than you are, and with tougher reputations. That way, if you lose there is a good explanation, and if you win, there is extra kudos.

[2] If a class is boring, you can always stare out the window and imagine you're somewhere, somewhen, or someone else.

[3] If a class is boring, and there are no windows, you can fall asleep.

[4] Occasionally you can be lucky enough to be in a class with an attractive teacher, which certainly assists with the 'boredom' factor.

[5] Sit at the front, especially if you can't see the blackboard from the back of the room.

[5.a] Don't do this if the class is boring.

[6] If in doubt, doodle.

[7] Failing a Maths test doesn't matter, there will be another one in six weeks time.

[8] Careers guidance counsellers have the wrong job title.

[9] Sex Ed doesn't teach anything about how to get a date for Saturday night.

[9.a] Sex Ed is largely redundant when taught in a farming community.

[10] Teachers do not appreciate having their mistakes pointed out in class.

[11] It's a good idea not to start a fight during the middle of the Principal's address at the full assembly of the school.

[12] It's an even better idea not to beat the crap out of the Principal's son, especially when he is two years older than you are.

[13] Books can be better friends than people.

[14] Education is more about maintaining conformity than anything else.


message 9: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13764 comments Graeme wrote: "I found learning English to be bewildering, and it's my native language.

The important things I learned at school are as follows.

[1] Only get in fights with people who are bigger than you are, a..."


Sounds like you were quite a brawler, Graeme -:)
Thanks for the invaluable guide to school time!


message 10: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Not really....


message 11: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Another odd thing. In my final year of high school there were three main tests. Mid year exams, October tests and final exams.

For English I got 33%, 30% and 67% respectively. I.e. 6 weeks before final exams I was failing the one mandatory subject that must be passed to complete high school.

So now I have this ambition to be a novelist.....


message 12: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5516 comments Graeme, I enjoyed your list, especially these:

Sex Ed is largely redundant when taught in a farming community.
Books can be better friends than people.
Education is more about maintaining conformity than anything else.

As an educator, I agree with the last one, as it applies to behavior. You must sit in a desk and remain there. You must follow the rules as established by the school and the teacher. It's all about maintaining order so that information can be disseminated. But as far as ideas, conformity is anathema to education.


message 13: by Graeme (new)

Graeme Rodaughan Hi Scout, there is an interesting tension between conformity and empowerment.

It's not simple. To master a skill, first requires conformity, to go beyond mastery requires non-conformity.

I fully appreciate the necessity of order in a classroom for the purpose of education.


message 14: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5516 comments And your idea that books can be better friends than people. That's true in many cases. I've found that books are always there for me, just pick one up and get lost in it, very dependable. But I don't know that books can actually replace human relationships. What do you think?


message 15: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) U.S History, found it interesting, fun and I dominated it my second year.

English, Im a writer now so clearly it had a tremendous influence on me.

Creative Writing, It showed me that I can be myself and go beyond the normal of writing.

Epistemology, Put me in touch and brought out my philosophical side. I still like to think I am today every now and then.


message 16: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2151 comments Justin wrote: "U.S History, found it interesting, fun and I dominated it my second year.

English, Im a writer now so clearly it had a tremendous influence on me.

Creative Writing, It showed me that I can be m..."


I'm not sure I had a favorite subject to answer the original question. As for American History, I've learned more researching my family tree than I learned in school. Looking back, lessons oversimplified events or glossed over much of what was going on. Case in point, I recently uncovered Tories in my direct line. All throughout school, Tories were presented as simply supporting the British with no indication to what "supporting" actually meant. I turned up one ancestor who was arrested for actively supplying the British. Seems the British approached the farmers for supplies and gave people the choice to sell. If you sold to them, you got your money and were left alone; but if you refused, they took everything anyway and burned your property. For many, it was simple pragmatism, yet afterward it marked them and forced many into Canada. Even worse, there were Tories who actively attacked their patriotic neighbors. I might bring up the full story in another time, but basically in Southern Rhode Island, there was one man who organized his own "brigade," like-minded citizens who unleashed fury on their Patriot neighbors. I have another ancestor who was a victim of this brigade. They showed up in the middle of the night and turned him, his wife and his children out of the house naked. Then they burned the place. Afterwards, he was captured by the British and held prisoner for several months. These loyalists could be downright **** but they were always glossed over in school.


message 17: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 13764 comments Favorite subjects, anyone? And has the fondness lasted beyond school?


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9743 comments Nik wrote: "Favorite subjects, anyone? And has the fondness lasted beyond school?"

I liked chemistry and look what happened to me.


message 19: by Ella (new)

Ella Craig | 38 comments I loved English and history at school (and still do), but when I came to do my 'A' levels, I chose chemistry, physics and biology. I do like to stretch myself!


message 20: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5516 comments Only good things come from stretching yourself. I was an English major with a minor in psychology. I took Spanish in high school and French in college. I also took several art classes (with mediocre results, but it was fun). Ventured into philosophy and biology. I could have stayed in college forever, if not for the tuition :-)


message 21: by W (last edited Oct 18, 2019 01:18AM) (new)

W English,though it is my third language.


message 22: by David (new)

David Flin | 18 comments A bit awkward to answer, given that I effectively left school before I was 13. I think it fair to say that it was a bit of a rough neighbourhood as well; this was the East End of London during the time of the Krays, and as a result, an essential piece of equipment was a flick-knife.

As for favourite subject, well, the only subject my school took any interest in was sport. It recognised that the vast majority weren't going to escape the situation, and one of the few routes of escape was sport. I happened to be quite good at most sports, so that was OK for me. Book subjects? Not a chance. All my learning came after I left school.


message 23: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5516 comments It's interesting that you say all your learning came after you left school. Even though I had a college education as a base, I had to learn so much more after I graduated in order to do my job. Probably the same for everyone . . . ?


message 24: by David (new)

David Flin | 18 comments Scout wrote: "It's interesting that you say all your learning came after you left school. Even though I had a college education as a base, I had to learn so much more after I graduated in order to do my job. Pro..."

I suspect my case is a bit more extreme than most in developed countries. I wasn't as badly off as some, but while I could tell a story, I literally couldn't write one.

People sometimes talk of the "Good Old Days", of a Golden Age of History. I'm not so convinced that the Old Days were necessarily that good in comparison.


message 25: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1660 comments I hated Math and PE (physical education). Everything else I was good with. The sciences depended on the teacher. In biology class in the mid 70s, I wrote a paper where we could choose between creationism and evolution. I hated being forced to go to church (which we were) and didn't believe in religion, but I had all the resource materials from the Bible to Christian Scientist articles. My teacher wrote, "I can truly say I have learned." Best compliment ever. He was a really good teacher. Physics, I hid my latest sci fi novel inside my textbook and read it, because that teacher was boring. Chemistry, I was a lab assistant, so I had easy access to the answers and the teacher was the laid back type. English was always easy for me and while we had good teachers, they were always the strict older women.

In my science fiction class i wrote a paper on Star Trek. My teacher wrote that she hoped I could meet them someday and that the aliens were like Spock. A group of us formed an underground newspaper in protest of our content being edited by administration. The person who led that uprising became NJ's state senator.

History, I was good at, until we reached the more present century. It seemed to lose my interest and romanticism after the 1800s. Probably the result of too much fiction from the pharoahs to Gone With the Wind. I still am amused at the fact that I taught the jocks (who were going to fail and not graduate) a code for giving them the correct answers on the final in history. They could have learned the information itself as easily as the complicated code I developed for the battles and generals.

I was the bookworm whose parents were real strict and didn't let us dress like other kids. But I didn't object to giving out the answers or helping the jocks in the midst of being a library aid, science teacher aid, etc. Anything I could do to avoid "study hall" as I had enough studying time at home under the circumstances.

Essentially, I could write because I spent a lot of time reading. That skill of evaluating information, presenting it in the proper light to propel my position, and doing so with proper use of grammar, transferred into the legal field very well and fed into my career as a paralegal.


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 9743 comments Physics and chemistry are usually awful because the teachers simply do not understand. I can recall once when my daughter came back from school with a problem set as homework, so I explained to her how to go about it, and eventually she proudly announced she had the answer. The problem was, I knew it was ridiculous (in the class of bricks fall upwards). So I looked it over, and found the problem lay in the data that was given. At one stage, the US had the opposite sign convention for some thermodynamic data as Europe. It doesn't really matter - a convention is just that - and yuwill always get the right answer AS LONG AS Y0u CONSISTENTLY USE THE SAME CONVENTION. This teacher did not, and did not understand the problems so caused. But it is difficult to tell a child the teacher is just plain wrong.


message 27: by J. (new)

J. Gowin | 3102 comments Odds and Statistics. The class was taught by the resident hot teacher, so I paid close attention to her class. Apparently, the lessons got in subliminally, and have skewed my opinions ever since.

Whenever the talking heads start in about political polling, I remember how contaminated every poll we ran for that class was.

If they start quoting stats, I look up their claimed sources. They cherry pick and "interpret" like mad. Seriously, if they quote a murder rate, when you check the data set you'll find that they read all firearms related deaths as murders. So their purported murders include suicides, accidents, and justifiable homicides (self defense). It gets more hilarious if they talk about medicine.

In short, I spend far to much time considering data sets, permutations, and whether this person understands the difference between median and mean numbers.


message 28: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1660 comments Ian wrote: "Physics and chemistry are usually awful because the teachers simply do not understand. I can recall once when my daughter came back from school with a problem set as homework, so I explained to her..."

I spent my entire life until 2 years ago spelling dilemma incorrectly as dilemna. At the time I discovered this error, I learned that a textbook by a major publisher used in the northeastern United States (I grew up in NJ) spelled it wrong for many years. So the result of a typo was that a generation of northeasterners grew up spelling dilemma incorrectly and passed it on that way in everything we wrote. Early forms of word processors had lots of things wrong in their spell check, so I just added dilemna to my dictionary in word and kept on spelling it wrong until I came across the article.

I have to assume that teachers didn't argue with textbook publishers.


message 29: by Scout (new)

Scout (goodreadscomscout) | 5516 comments My favorite subject in high school was English. I majored in English at college and got a BA, then an MA.


message 30: by Marie (new)

Marie History was favorite subject to me as I loved learning about things that happened in the past. :)


message 31: by Marie (new)

Marie Graeme wrote: "I found learning English to be bewildering, and it's my native language.

The important things I learned at school are as follows.

[1] Only get in fights with people who are bigger than you are, a..."


I love these answers! :)

Favorites are:

#2 - daydreaming - I use to do it myself. :)

#3 - sleeping - works better by being in the back of the class in a corner somewhere! lol :)

#6 - doodling - only do this if again you are sitting in the back of the room in the corner (out of sight out of mind). lol :)

#10 - teachers/mistakes - definitely frowned upon! :)

#13 - books as friends - that is sometimes still true today for some people, but when you have the right friends - the friends matter more than the books, but if you have both (books and friends) then you are truly blessed. :)


message 32: by Rita (new)

Rita Chapman | 152 comments Definitely Maths!


message 33: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) Aside from gym, my favorite subject was History. Couldn't stand it in middle school but in high school I found it fascinating and also the teacher had a list of fun ways we could do history projects. Also English obviously.


message 34: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie | 1660 comments I was watching the 2nd season of the new Lost in Space and thought of Graeme's initial post on what to do in class when I heard Don say, "Flying under the radar is actually a good thing, ... It's right up there with never raise your hand. Always sit in the back, and Never, ever be too good at anything."


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