LIFE

Vintage Schools: 9 Things You Remember From Class That Kids Today Wouldn’t Understand

by Jess Catcher
Jess grew up in Oklahoma before moving to New York to become a writer. She has a cat named Agnes.

As someone who went to school in the ’90s, I was totally floored by how different today’s classrooms looked and students acted when I became a substitute teacher to make extra cash in college.

Of course, the culture of education has been rapidly changing for decades now, as you can see by taking a gander at the items and customs most American students were familiar with way back in the day. Where today’s kids rely on techy tablets and high-functioning calculators to guide them through their daily lessons, those attending in the ’50s and ’60s made do with more rudimentary devices, like a slide rule or “ditto machine.”

It’s so fascinating to see how far we’ve come from those early days of academia — especially when you think about how today’s students will look to their counterparts 50 years in the future, too.

Scroll through below for nine things you might recall about your experience, but that would totally baffle today’s kids.

Did we miss something you remember from going to school back in the day? Let us know and be sure to SHARE with your friends!

1. You Did "Duck And Cover" Drills

1. You Did "Duck And Cover" Drills

At the height of the Cold War, students were trained to protect themselves from a potential nuclear attack by crawling under their desks — something that doesn’t seem like it would be all that effective, but thankfully was not needed.

2. You Used A Skinner Teaching Machine

2. You Used A Skinner Teaching Machine

B.F. Skinner entered the educational scene during this decade with an emphasis on positive reinforcement and “learning by doing,” which this device apparently guided.

3. And A Slide Rule

3. And A Slide Rule

As someone who isn’t really great at math to begin with, these contraptions totally make me glad calculators were around when I was in school.

4. Girls Were "Prepared" For Marriage

4. Girls Were "Prepared" For Marriage

If you happened to be a teen girl in 1950s, you likely took a class on home economics. This is where you learned the “proper” way to be a housewife, such as having your husband’s dinner prepared promptly when he arrived home.

5. Card Catalogues Held All The Information

5. Card Catalogues Held All The Information

Before we could simply type our queries into the Google search bar, we actually had to open up books to find our facts for essays and research papers. That meant starting with a stack of millions of little cards, which let you know where the books you need were located in your library.

6. Reading Accelerators Helped You Stay Focused

6. Reading Accelerators Helped You Stay Focused

The clunky metallic objects highlighted sections of a book for students while they read, rather than the tech tablets that are popping up in schools today.

7. Films Were On Actual Film

7. Films Were On Actual Film

I’m talking about the kind your teacher had to roll out the projector for and cross their fingers that nothing would go awry, unlike the handy DVDs, Blu-Rays, and streaming content educators can rely on today.

8. Recess Meant Marbles

8. Recess Meant Marbles

Or maybe you preferred playing jacks. Both of these activities have definitely been replaced with more high tech toys and games over the years.

9. You Enjoyed Longer Summer Breaks

9. You Enjoyed Longer Summer Breaks

Students today count down the average 180 days until they finally get set free for the summer, but those educated in the 1950s only stayed in the classroom an average of 150 days each year.

Did we miss something you remember from school back in the day? Let us know below and be sure to SHARE with your friends!