Worthless and stupid high school subjects.

I would like to know from those of you what subjects in High School that were (and are) totally worthless in your daily life but were forced to take anyway? Some of my examples…

(P.E.) I had to take this crap in 9th grade. There was no education per se, just running around the basketball court and what not. The man who “taught” it was the basketball coach, who really was an asshole. What I hated was on Fridays we had to play dodge ball. I hated that shit. The last thing I want is to be hit in the head by a kick ball.

(English literature) Two things. I read on another string here about Old English. Well, my 11th grade teacher made us memorize this crap from Beowulf. I have no idea what Beowulf was about because it was written in GERMAN.

Shakespeare. This sorry 16th century asshat writer has been the bane of High School students for the past 400 years. When I was in 10th grade, I had to memorize a sonnet, which is 14 GD lines!! Why? Well, I didn’t learn it and got a zero. I feel some of you will avail that he was the greatest writer in the English language, but if I am interested in his archiac stories, I would happily read them.

PE and Englis Lit were my bitches. I could add that bastard course “Art History”, but that was in college, where one really learns some worthless shit (to make one well rounded).

What is everybodys thoughts, current students more than welcome.


And maths! Whats up with that? Long multiplication? - You can just use a calculator!

Young one, you may not see the worth of some classes now, but you will wwhen you are older and have acquired some perspective.

PE is very much a hit-or-miss propositions, and if you havve a macho little tin Napoleon abusing his authority, it can be miserable indeed. That is not to say, however, the at the idea of getting you flabby little Playstation addicts to get off your Doritos-swollen backsides and exercise. I declare, this generation makes the Stay-Puft marshmallow man look buff.

A word regarding dodge ball: twisting and moving to avoid getting slammed by a hard plastic ball is an accurate metaphor for the vicissitudes of adulthood.


Shakespeare. This sorry 16th century asshat writer has been the bane of High School students for the past 400 years.
** Shakespeare is not an asshat. His dramas and poems are the touchstones of human experience; they are for anyone who has ever fallen in love, hated an enemy, or felt used and unloved by the world. It’s possible you might have a lousy teacher, so I’d recommend watching a movie adapted formone his plays, say, the Baz Lurman Romeo and Juliet or Ian McKellen’s Richard III.

Young one, you will find that as you go through life, you will be called on to do many things that seem to be senseless or troublesome, but if you fail to accomplish those tasks, you won’t get a zero, you’ll get fired! Learn to buckle down and study now because it will serve you well the rest of your life.

And you will also find that being able to whip out a Shakespearean sonnet at a moment’s notice will enable you to woo women.

Any class in which the student is required to think for him/herself is a complete waste of time. Why figure things out on our own when we can just parrot what someone else (who is cool) says?

You must’ve been asleep in both the Literature and the Grammar classes.

For one thing, Beowulf was written in Old English, not German. At any rate, I seriously doubt your teacher had you memorize over three thousand lines of a poem in another language. Fourteen lines, on the other hand, is not much to memorize and, as Shakespeare is considered to be the world’s greatest dramatist, knowing his work is a good thing.

That covers when you were a somnolent in Literature class. As to Grammar class:

seems to have promise as an actual sentence in the English language. You might notice that “those of you” needs just a bit more information after it. Perhaps you meant “those of you who don’t give a flying you-know-what about the unfounded opinion of someone who can’t even be bothered to listen to fourteen lines of the best drama ever penned by human hand.” Perhaps not.

*Brush up your Shakespeare.
Start quoting him now.
Brush up your Shakespeare.
And the women you will wow…

If you can’t be a ham and do “Hamlet”.
They will not give a damn or a damnlet.
Just recite an occasional sonnet.
And your lap’ll have “Honey” upon it.
When your baby is pleading for pleasure.
Let her sample your “Measure For Measure!”
Brush up your Shakespeare.
And they’ll all kowtow.*


Balanced mind, balanced body buddy boy. Just because you fail to see the need to not sit on your ass in a class for 30 minutes a week surely does not make you the scarred victim.

And if you can not figure out the value of exploring the development of English thought and the role of the individual through its great writings well…ppphhhtttp!

Reading and interpreting Shakespeare is great fun. Reading and learning someone else’s interpretation sucks.

And I have not seen one non-fit person motivated to become fit via the horror that it gym class. I say that schools are supposed to teach us things. Gym does not teach us things. Kill it.

I have massive destestation of forgien language requirements. How about replacing them with heavy-duty grammar and vocab courses of English (distinct from the literature and composing classes)?

Even though HS sometimes seemed pointless, keep in mind the primary goal is to educate you. It’s true that you may never need to use Shakespeare or math, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the point of the class. The point (IMO) of the class is to learn, to be able to read Shakespeare and understand it-even though you may not want to, is a skill in and of itself. You can put the dedication and knowledge it took to learn Shakespeare and apply it to something else, something useful.

My opinion is, if it’s difficult to understand and it takes a long time to learn, then learning it is a good reward. I know, it sounds cheesy, but I think it’s true. After all, not everyone can or does learn Shakespeare (or any number of other subjects). The point though is that you were able to learn it.

I’ve found that my HS courses weren’t useless, if only because the information obtained from them were essential for college.

I learned how to write from my English courses. I learned how to develop arguments in my AP history course. I needed the 12th grade trigonometry for the engineer’s calculus I took in college (which I needed for physics). I learned discipline and gained an appreciation for music from my orches-torture classes.

I’m hard pressed to come up with lessons learned from PE. I did learn how to tally the score in bowling. One day it may come in handy.

There are more “useless” classes in college than in HS, IMO. But if you want nothing but useful classes, vocational school is probably more up your alley…

I think it depends a lot about the type of teacher and the subjects they cover. For 3 years, my PE schedule was volleyball and basketball during the Fall semester, softball and athletics during the Spring semester. You had both practical (ie playing the sport) and theorical (knowing the rules, writing essays, biographies, writing projects) parts. While I am thankful for the theorical part (the only reason I passed the class), I believe that system should change. I mean, I spent 2 years knowing that I sucked at volleyball, basketball, and athletics, but I had to take that class 2 times per week and was supposed to hit or play at intermediate level (I was always at beginner).

P.E. needs a change if you want to motivate kids and guide them to more healthy habits. I like the idea of some schools now of making P.E. class more like a gym, and de-emphasizing learning a sport while focusing more on other ways to maintain fitness (or achieve it).

Not the bane of this student (2nd year uni). Shakespeare was one of my favourite things about high school. I got to read (and see performed) great literature, got to discuss it with a teacher who knew what she was talking about and I got to show off my stupid ideas a lot (this is very important to me… does anyone know a good career where I get to spend all my time telling everyone else my ideas and have them all be very appreciative of it?)

And I honestly think that Shakespeare is one of the most useful things taught in school. He had such a brilliant command of the English language that studying it allows you to improve your own command of the language. Language is something you’re going to use for the rest of your life and the better you’re able to use it, the more successful you’re going to be. Effective communication and successfully conveying your ideas will get you everywhere in the world.

Not to mention the timeless thematic issues of Shakespeare; everything he’s written about is still relevant today (hmmm… maybe not cannibalism), and studying his work helps us to understand the contemporary world. Like any great writer, he is saying some interesting things, and they are worthy of study, if only for purely academic reasons.

If you really don’t get Shakespeare, try seeing it performed, or even perform it yourself. I don’t know how anyone could hate him after seeing a great performance of Much Ado About Nothing.

Actually High School PE was pretty cool for me:
Archery, Golf, Badminton, First Aid training and Certification, and other decent stuff. All Co-ed too, Ra!
Junior High School PE just plain sucked, though.

I guess the subject that I hated more than any other was 13th Century Japanese History. I mean, as if it weren’t already done to death on MTV.

Let me guess, you majored in engineering, right? I’ve read the documentation you guys write. Reading literature makes you a better writer. When your peers are being promoted all around you because you can’t communicate, maybe you will realize the folly of your ways.

Why? Foreign languages strike me as one of the most practical required subjects out there. In fact, Spanish is one of the two high school subjects I’ve actually used outside of an academic or professional context (the other is typing). If many Anglophones do not use foreign languages in their daily life, it’s only because so many native speakers of other languages do.

As for why we study Shakespeare – well, gex gex has covered it pretty well; I’d only add that he has absolutely not been the bane of high school students for 400 years. Four hundred years ago, everything students studied in school was written in Latin. They probably skipped school to go to Shakespeare’s plays. This stuff was pop culture. It’s pretty cool having a window into the pop culture of another time and place – it can tell you a lot about how our ways of thinking and feeling have changed over time, and how they’ve stayed the same.

Besides, the skills you use to read and analyze literature are transferrable – you can use them for everything from figuring out your tax forms to explaining why your favorite movie is so great.

Since they’ve cut PE classes, American kids have gotten fatter and fatter. I did actually learn things in PE, like rules to football, tennis, etc. And I’m a girl who is completely unathletic and uncoordinated.

As for English Literature, that was my college major. I would say that you learned history as you read Shakespeare since the plays reflected life during his time. If you had tried harder to understand more difficult texts, you may have learned discipline. You probably learned, without realizing it, how to communicate so people can understand you. Had you tried harder, you may have also learned the proper usage of the word “avail.”

Looking back, I don’t know that any of my high schools courses were worthless/stupid. Now that I’m learning some things about pedagogy (in my museum education classes), I realize that my main issue wasn’t with the subject matter or content, but its method of presentation.

It really seems that a majority of my teachers and their respective curriculum were stuck in ruts. Government classes were utterly dry, rather than inspiring me to be an active citizen. Couldn’t one or two days in my math course be devoted to balancing a checkbook?

The teachers who went the extra mile to approach their subject with passion and involve students with the subject matter are the ones I remember today–in AP English, drama, physics. I even remember teachers I’ve heard about through my friends (the French teacher who had her students write journals in French–actually using the language to express themselves!)…these are the teachers I hope to emulate.

Just out of curiosity, what would the OP have considered “worthwhile” learning in high school? What the OP neglects to see, is that high school is a “rounded” curriculum. It is not specialized to any one career, activity, interest etc. How can one find out what to do with their life if not given the opportunity to experience a little bit of the whole? Would you say that ALL of your classmates thought that Shakespere was an asshat? Was there not one student who may go on to write great works, all because of his/her love of Shakespere? Was there not one student who may go on to find a cancer cure because of the sciences. Look at the big picture here. And besides, if you ever have kids, you can sit back and say "I already did that - neener-neener-neener!

I know I complained alot while I was in high school, but, now that I think of it, just about everything learned has been applied to some part of my life, even if it was a simple game of “Trivial Pursuit”.

And thanks december, I will be singing that for the rest of the day!

Our P.E. classes in high school alternated days between a fitness workout (usually running) and a sports workout. (So, for example, MWF might have been fitness, and TuTh was sports). Although a natural contrariness made me dislike it at the time, I can see now how valuable it was. The idea was to focus on general fitness and a healthy lifestyle rather than particular sports skills. So you would build cardio endurance, strength, etc., as well as be forced to get regular exercise. If more schools would do stuff like this (as opposed to dodgeball), we might have fewer obese kids.