30 Things Today’s Students Will Never Understand

The AV cart, floppy disks, and Oregon Trail!

Today's Students

Have you ever stood in front of a class and referred to something from your childhood, only to find your students staring back with a blank face of confusion? Do you miss the smell of mimeograph copies and the sound of a typewriter? You’re not alone! We asked fellow teachers on our Facebook page and gathered this list of 30 things today’s students will never understand.

The library and conducting research.

Studying, especially with line drawings instead of full-color photos, because color photos were too expensive to publish. —Pat M.

Using the Dewey decimal classification system on the index cards just to find a book! —Elaine B.

The librarian would use a rubber stamper to stamp the due date on cards that were in a little sleeve on the inside cover of a book. —Laurice S.

How to do actual research from reference books without Google. —Marian L.


Checking out a book from the school library and going through the list in the back of the book of previous students that had gotten this book just to see if any of the cute boys I liked had read it. —Therese B.


Technology of a different stripe.

Oregon Trail. That was a high tech game for us but they would laugh at the graphics now. —Kelly R.

15 minutes of computer time was a reward you’d save your tickets/class money for WEEKS for! —Olivia M.

Film strips and the excitement of seeing the AV cart get wheeled into your classroom. —Mary M.

Floppy Disks, and not just the hard plastic ones… —Joe W.

ScanTron cards and the absolute fear of getting the pencil marks outside of the little bubble. —Tracy D.

Mastering the Home Row on the manual typewriter——-Typing “asdf jklm; throw carriage. —Ron B.

Penmanship class with the correct cursive alphabet hung above the blackboard. —Kelly S.

Class jobs that were a little bit different.

Getting chosen by your teacher to go outside and clap the chalk erasers to clean them! —Maren S.

Wanting to stay after school to wash the blackboards with a sponge. —Kendra B.

Getting purple all over your hands from the fresh mimeograph copies.  —Robyn S.

Dress codes.

Having our uniforms measured for length with a tape measure. —Lynette B.

All girls required to wear skirts or dresses. —Sheri S.


Being sent to the office meant you were also in for it at home. —Irene D.

Our punishment was writing all the times tables. And everyday we recited the times tables in unison. —Gail M.

Consequences were administered the first time something was amiss. —Jacqueline A.

Your name on the board with checkmarks meant you had to stay after school. —Jolee T.

And pure nostalgia. For better or worse!

Wrapping textbooks in paper covers (often made from grocery bags) to protect them from damage! —Noelle W.

The sound of the teacher ringing the handbell to come in from recess. —Kris G.

Having dedicated times where everyone had to swish fluoride in their mouths. —James R.

Wooden desks with flip up tops for storing your books, paper, and pencils. —Mikey S.

Penmanship class with the correct cursive alphabet hung above the blackboard. —Julie K.

Walking home for lunch, unescorted unless you count an older sibling. —Kathleen W.

Playing dodgeball and not thinking it was a dangerous game. —Leslie O.

Smelling the copies fresh from the mimeograph! —Wendy C.

The TV cart, rectangular pizza, Trapper Keepers, and Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. —Melanie L.

Are we missing anything? What tops your list of things today’s students will never understand? Share in the comments below. Plus, 50 things you’ll recognize if you’ve been teaching more than ten years.

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30 Things Today's Students Will Never Understand