Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Best Thing I Learned. . .

By far the best thing I ever learned in high school was how to type. Without that skill, I would not have been able to prepare the many term papers (research papers) that were required in high school and in college. I would not have been able to prepare the hundreds of worksheets, outlines, mimeograph stencils (does anyone else remember those?), applications, quizzes, tests, and reports that my job required.

Little did I know that when I was typing the sentence, "the quick, brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" that I was using all the letters in the English alphabet.

Mrs. Glaser was my typing teacher, and the typewriters in her classroom were manual like the Remington in the photo above. The keys on every machine in the room were capped so the letters were not visible. The only way to type was memorize the placement of letters and to drill, drill, drill - every day. The only help was high above the blackboard where a chart with the keyboard placement was displayed.

Mrs. Glaser allowed advanced typists to use the limited number of electric machines. It took some time to become accustomed to the speed of the electric typewriter, but I missed the rhythm of the manual machines.

One day, in the late 60s some flashy red, electric machines (IBM Selectric) were brought into the classroom. I immediately loved the machines with the intriguing, letter ball because it was impossible to jam the keys.

Because of my typing skills, the transition to a computer was easy.

Of course, schools no longer offer typing classes because the skill is now called "key boarding." I don't know if the students are required to complete the same type of drills to memorize letter placement.

I find it interesting that the typewriter was invented in 1866, and even with advances in technology, the letter placement has not changed. Think about that for a minute. A device that was created 147 years ago is still as helpful and valuable today, albeit in a different form, as it was the year it was invented.

Yes, the best thing I ever learned is how to type.

What is the "best thing" you've learned?


  1. I also learned to type on a manual typewriter with capped keys. There were only two typewriters like that in my class and I was randomly assigned to one of them on the first day. It was a blessing in disguise as I learned the keyboard much quicker than most of the other students and was soon moved to one of the electric typewriters. I agree it was one of the best things I learned in high school.

  2. To read....When I realized how difficult it was for a deaf person to read because it is in English not sign language I began to see how limited it made you to do follow directions, research something and etc. I have taught myself many crafts and things just because I can read.

  3. Miranda Lambert would disagree, but right now, the best thing I learned is grace under pressure. One of my strongest traits as a leader is that very few people know when I'm treading water like a crazy woman, because I somehow manage to keep it calm "above the water."

    It was pretty darned useful in the fire service too.

  4. One thing I'm glad I learned is how to play the piano. I use that skill all the time; the family gathers around the piano to sing each week, and I accompany a choir at church.

  5. WEll typing was a good skill but learning SPANISH is probably better. Mostly because it inspired Zach to become a Spanish teacher..and because it has helped at the bedside with SPanish speaking families in the hospital.

  6. To read that is the best thing I ever learned how to do! I never learned to type was a summer class and I got PI all over and had to drop out. I did not take typing during the regular school year because the teacher was strange..all touchy feely with the girls and liked to look down their blouses..he made my skin crawl..awful thing to say about a teacher but it was true:(

  7. Hard to believe it now, but I flunked typing twice in high school… although if you watched me type on my cell phone you might believe it, LOL! But the best thing I learned in school was how to read. Reading opened up a whole new world to me, and continues to do so every day.

  8. I agree that typing was one of the best things I ever learned, along with shorthand, which has developed into my own style over the years. My grandchildren seem to have picked up their own style of typing without any formal training, and they are as fast as I am on a keyboard.

    I worked in the mimeograph room in high school because my typing teacher discovered that I could type fast and without errors. It was a great job.

  9. This week I'd have to say how to drive on icy roads :)

  10. Good post. Got me to thinking about how valuable that typing skill has been in my life. I'd have to say that it's right up there at the top. One of the other best things I learned was to play the piano. It has shaped my life and activities in significant ways.

  11. I think I'm with you on the typing. Typing I was on manual typewriters. When you took Typing II you got the Selectric. I LOVED that you could change the font by switching out the balls.

    I'm still a "font" girl. LOL

    I earned a living typing, I write my blog by typing, and a lot of my volunteer work guessed it, TYPING. ;0)

  12. What a great post. I think I would agree that reading was the greatest thing I learned. I changed schools because I wasn't learning to read but, boy howdy, once I learned you don't see me without something read nearby. Of course, I now read at least half of my novels on electronic devices. I took typing as a summer class too. We went on vacation the last week of the class so I'm still lousy with the numbers. I always have to look at them. But I'm pretty fast and somewhat accurate. Spelling gets me more than typos usually!


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