Go off and interview those whom your action plan will benefit is what I was told…..so I did.
As I began each interview with my “why” (thinking about the importance of being a woman and being financially literate, imagining how empowering this skillset is over a lifetime and teaching my students to have a voice and choice in their future), it became increasingly apparent that each and every one of us has a story to tell. During the interviews, each person was true and authentic to themselves, and I want to really give a big shout out for their intimate answers and sharing of their personal journeys.
Who did I interview? I started with three grade 11 students who took my financial literacy class in grade 9, just to hear what they remember or have done in the past 2 years. Then I approached three teachers from Grade 6, 9, and 11, to hear their perspective of integrating financial literacy in the classroom. Finally, I had an interview with a wonderful woman who worked on Wall Street for 5 years, came back to Canada and became a partner for a Financial Planning Company (with many adventures in between).
In the end, we all want the same thing, and thus the 3 insights that I took away from this process are:
- Students, teachers, administration, parents, guardians, future employers, etc. all see value in teaching financial literacy in the classroom. The impact of real-world scenarios taught within the school system is that it will prepare our students for life after high school.
- Teachers, students, administration are concerned there is no time to develop this skillset within the current curriculum expectations. But, if there was a resource where teachers could grab a quick problem-solving question or real-world example from a bank of prepared options, they could include financial literacy in their classroom program, just not as a discrete unit. This would also allow for cross-curricular integration, not just in math class.
- We live in a virtual world where money is no longer a tangible item and this concept needs to be taught. Having a ‘budget’ is often discussed, but not how to budget. It is important for our students to understand the online aspects of saving, spending, and investing.
As I sort through my research and resources I am struck by a few comments from my students that I would like to share and really highlight why this action plan is so important.
“Our parents are financially stable and take care of us. We lack experience and opportunity”
“As a kid in our generation, we are so tempted to consume more. This influences us to spend when we don’t have enough.”
“As part of my culture, it is taboo to discuss money when you are a child.”
We are the endgame before our students hit the real world. Let’s make sure they are prepared for what’s about to hit them!