How to Fix Toilets 101

Walking into my English Honors class on the first day of school was stressful. I had heard from the juniors that Theriault’s class was one of the toughest on campus. My friend rambled on about her horrible first semester experience in English Honors and how she had to drop out second semester.

He’s the craziest teacher ever! Be ready to pull all-nighters this year.

I was anticipating the essay that would be assigned that night and dwelled upon the fact that I still had yet to finished my summer assignment. Great, I thought. It was the first day of school and I was already behind. How was that even possible…

Little did I know, English class would be the class I looked forward to most on a daily basis. It was the fact that everyday in English class was a surprise. We never really knew what we were doing (usually) and were only told what our assignment was the day of. It was a nice break from all my other classes. I didn’t have to take notes in English everyday… bless! Rather than practicing grammar and language (which is useful anyway), we practiced life skills. The beauty of the subject itself is that we were able to do whatever we wanted. There was no right or wrong answer and everyone was appreciated for their contribution to the class. English class for us wasn’t entirely based on the structure and concepts of things (if at all). It was about self-expression and digging deep. We didn’t only learn about how to properly write essays MLA format, but rather focused our attention on the important things in life: what colleges look at and how to build an online resume. Imagine a life-skills course combined with a philosophy class and art elective mixed all together under the header “English.” That was my class… and it was totally awesome.


Today in English class, my teacher taught us how to fix toilets and explained the mechanism behind it. He introduced the lesson by sharing past experiences he had with running into former students. Mr. Theriault would ask them what they remembered and appreciated most about his class and what was the most common response? How to fix toilets. Out of all things. Never in a million years did I think that I would be learning how to fix toilets in English class. Must I say honors?

I didn’t care! We were actually learning life skills! Sure… people say high school is supposed to prepare you for life and specifically, college. They tell us we will acquire the most information in the four years of high school. Wrong. All I’ve retained so far in my academic career is the quadratic formula and MLA  format. Will that teach me how to pay bills, get into a good college, and land me a decent job? I didn’t think so… It’s all about being practical and differentiating between what will get me to my goal. I feel students in today’s society, including myself, are obsessed with grades and constantly thinking about schoolwork. They have no time to participate in extracurricular activities and are so involved in their studies that there really is no sense of individuality left. It’s true…. the quadratic formula is important but what’s more important is how to apply this knowledge taught in school to real life situations. Newsflash: life doesn’t stop after high school. It only gets more difficult from here. Learning to adapt and being prepared is the most we can do. So let’s start today. Let’s go do real stuff.

tumblr_n4wwkrE7IY1scqasjo1_1280–Michelle Doan



3 thoughts on “How to Fix Toilets 101

  1. This is very smart and heart. That makes it moving! Teachers could learn a lot from what you’ve share here, but I can also tell you’ve learned a lot. Learning has no bounds and should not be bottled up by course lines.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta grab my plunger ; )

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