June 09, 2021
How long have you been teaching financial education?
Why do you teach financial education?
I started teaching financial education as a part of my Senior Seminar course. I believe that financial education is extremely important, as it empowers students and gives them skills that they need in order to attain financial mobility. Many students have been taught to shy away from talking about money, including at home. Without these key conversations, students go into the real world lacking the knowledge needed to make smart financial decisions. By having these conversations in this class, I hope to ensure that students have the tools to achieve their visions of financial well-being.
How is this different from other courses you have taught?
Oftentimes, teachers teach in a way that is black or white, right or wrong. This course is different in that it also highlights the fact that decision-making is often complex, and dependent not only on the decision-maker's values but on the context of the situation as a whole. While we can talk about saving and spending in a theoretical sense, showing situations that may happen in real life add a level of complexity to decision-making. This teaches our students compassion, how to view situations from others' shoes, and how to think outside of themselves.
What do students like most about the course?
Students appreciate that the content of this course will be useful for many years to come. Unlike some of their other classes, they know that everything they learn in this course is going to come up again somewhere down the line in their lives. Students like the discussions that we have and seeing how their thought processes can differ from those of their peers.
How does your school fit a single-semester course into its curriculum?
Our school offers a Senior Seminar course, where the first semester is focused on fulfilling the CPS Learn Plan, Succeed graduation requirement, as well as the statewide FAFSA requirement. Second semester, our focus shifts to financial education.
Do you have any implementation tips or successes that you want to share with others?
While there are many situations throughout the curriculum, I find that students are very responsive when I use real-life examples. I have friends that have made poor financial decisions that I'll talk about, and can ask what the students would have done differently in their shoes. Students have also come with me through my own financial decisions. As an example, when my husband and I bought our home earlier this year, I gave my students an update daily on the process and where we were in it. This only reinforced the fact that this class is applicable to real life, as they were able to watch me use the skills taught in this class and ask questions about my own decision-making.