In school, a lot of kids ask “When will I ever need to know this?” Why do I need to know how to solve for x? Who cares whether Amenhotep or Ramesses ruled Egypt first? When will I ever need to write in cursive?
Note that nobody ever says this about football, or band, or chess club, which are activities that, while entirely worthwhile, are nearly guaranteed to never be used after high school.
I’m not a teacher. But, I would say to students: This is all brain practice. You’re learning how to think and how to practice as much as you’re learning about any particular subject. You’re learning discipline. Do you really want lack the ability and persistence to figure out all the stuff we’ve already proven to be true? How are you ever going to figure out something new, or whether something new might be true?
The scary part about life is that Einstein wasn’t inherently much smarter than you. Bill Gates isn’t inherently much smarter. The fabulous quotes and insights didn’t just fall out of their mouth, neatly packaged by their superior brains. When people asked them tough questions, they were able to answer them so concisely because they spent years thinking about those questions. That’s what it takes.
These people trained themselves to look at problems from as many possible angles as they can think of, and to do it quickly. This comes from training. It’s not a gift from the sky.
Contrary to what teenagers think, hard work is never wasted. When you put in hard work, you either get some knowledge, a skill, or experience. Whichever you get is invaluable.