This is so useless! is a common whine heard in the secondary classroom.  Students can seldom see the application, and, therefore; the point of what they are learning, which in their minds renders the lesson useless.

I like to tell them about my grade 10 typing class.

Typing was a required course when I was in grade 10, which I felt was a total waste of time.  I was an academic, and typing was for secretaries.  There was no chance I was ever going to be one of those!  So, why waste my time.

Computers were not on the horizon when I was in grade 10, at least not my horizon.  We learned to type on manual typewriters, and if we were lucky, advanced to automatics.  We had to learn how to change the ribbon, correct spelling mistakes, and untangle stuck keys.  It was messy, repetitive, and I was sure, redundant.  I refused to give it any effort, and my mark reflected it.  I was smug in the self-righteousness of knowing I would never need this course again.


My first, post-education job was with a large bank.  Originally hired to do data processing, the ladder for advancement soon opened up, but guess what skill I needed to be promoted?  Of course, typing.  Not just the ability to type, but a proficiency of 125 words/ minute.   There was no one from my old high school standing over my shoulder saying, I told you so, but I felt the irony anyway.  I landed the job with a little fabrication, but boy did I scramble to learn the skills I had ignored only 5 years earlier.

That was 1978.  Within months everyone had computers, and typing was an essential.

Who knew something so useless could be so useful in a very short period of time.



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