A question/comment I've received from my students in various forms oh just about a million times in my short time teaching. I currently teach pre-algebra, algebra I, and geometry at a private school. I've only been teaching for a few months and I've already heard this a bunch of times. Why do I have to learn this? Why is this important? Why do I have to learn this if I can just use the calculator on my phone? I'm never going to use this. This is dumb. etc. etc. This doesn't come from all students because many of them see the value in learning these things or have plans to go into a field that requires them, but many don't. Pre-algebra is kind of easy, because they are not yet beyond the level of math they'll use in everyday life on a frequent basis. Even some of Algebra and Geometry. But there are things in both that don't tend to get used, and I'll be teaching pre-calc and calculus over the summer in a couple of weeks. I have tried "you never know if you might change your mind on what you want to do" but that doesn't usually work. Some of these kids are so sure they already know what they want to do with their lives that are confident they'll never use it. I have tried "you'll need to do this on the SAT/ACT to get a good score and get into a good college" and that is usually met with more "that's dumb". I have tried googling to find the best real-life applications of whatever it is they are asking about, and often they are inadequate to convince them. I have tried "learning new things helps sharpen your mind and will make you smarter" which is true but doesn't usually convince them. For the calculator question, I usually say that they need to understand the concepts to use it on their calculator correctly, but that's not strictly always true. All in all, I do not feel like I have been adequately responding to these questions/comments. How do you respond to these things?