Saturday, 14 September 2013

What I Went to School For

The education system in this country taught me how to memorise information briefly for tests and exams, and then to forget it again immediately as I'd never need it again. It taught me that teachers can be as cruel and vindictive as they want, because they have the ultimate power to trash your grades and ruin your educational life. My grammar school in particular taught me that no grade other than an A counted - and even when I got an A, they wanted to know why on earth I didn't get an A*.

School, sixth form college and university definitely did teach me useful stuff, of course - they taught me how to make friends, speak in public, work to a deadline, fear authority and to change my writing style to fit in with marking standards that changed completely from teacher to teacher. University in particular taught me that it didn't matter how much time and passion I put into a piece of work. If the lecturer marking it this week didn't like my sentence structures, all my hard work would be for nothing. It taught me that life isn't fair. If I sound bitter about this, it's because I am a little - but I know that it's actually a really important skill to be able to manipulate how you work to fit different people's criteria. It was just a bit of a nasty wake-up call.

I think that there should be so much more to school than memorising the contents of text books to regurgitate in exams. In 21 years of education, I was never taught any of the following:
  • How to do taxes
  • How mortgages work
  • How loans from banks and lending companies work
  • How to fix basic appliances
  • How to build anything
  • How to deal with conflict
  • Basic first aid
  • Sex education beyond the physical
  • Any history that reflected poorly on England (aka ... most of history)
  • How to write a CV
  • How to write a covering letter
  • How to prepare for a job interview
  • Basic legal skills and how contracts work
  • How to deal with bullying
  • How to deal with mental health issues
  • How to cook basic meals
  • How to manage money and budget
  • How to cope with family illness/bereavement 
  • Basic self defence
  • How to deal with sexism, racism, homophobia etc.
  • How to vote
  • Who the major political parties are and their policies 
  • How local councils work and where tax money goes
You might think that it's not up to schools to teach kids any of these things, but I think that they're so massively vital and the sorts of things that you really can't rely on all parents/guardians to teach their children, because they're clearly not doing it. The internet is obviously a huge help, but there's so much conflicting information out there that there are no definitive guides. I loved taking art, history and English classes and I don't want to do away with existing subjects - but I do think that we need to massively revamp the education system to include the sorts of life skills that almost everyone needs, but that nobody is guaranteed to be taught. 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Models Own Firework Collection 'Rocket' Review

I'm a sucker for glitter nail varnish, even though it's a bitch to get off. There's something very therapeutic about layering it up until your nails look like Ke$ha threw up on them. This is Rocket from the Models Own Fireworks collection, it reminds me of bonfires and funfairs and Christmas. In the photo above I've used just the glitter varnish on my thumb, on my index finger it's over Barry M's Indigo, and on my middle finger it's over Barry M's Blood Orange. Glitter varnishes are hard to photograph well because they're always catching the light too much for you to get an accurate picture of what they look like, but I absolutely love this one, especially over Indigo. Excuse the circular scar on my finger - that's what happens when a collapsable chair collapses on your hand and a nail goes through your finger. Yum. Anyway - BOOM, reviewed.