of Class Preparation
As background, I spent five days at the New York Stock
Exchange, working with financial teachers from all over the country
to learn more about investing with the NYSE and observing active
trading on the floor of the market. Currently, I am on sabbatical
leave, experiencing first-hand how to become a financial planner.
Incorporated in my day are training sessions, one-on-one tutoring,
and reading current guides on IRA's, annuities, mutual funds, and
stocks. I’m also gathering materials and creating additional
notes for my classroom presentations as well as making connections
to individuals in the business world. These connections provide
guest speakers for my classes as well as shadowing/internship opportunities
so that students taking these classes will be able to visit a business
environment to determine if this is something they want to study
Students are given $10,000 to create an investment portfolio
at the beginning of the course. Throughout the classes, they learn
research tools on the Internet. At the beginning of each class,
they read a current financial article and complete a ten bullet
point summary due before they leave. They play the local newspaper
stock market competition, and work with me during lectures to present
notes, often reinforced with classroom speakers and media presentations.
The Credit Union Association, in cooperation with our local credit
union, has provided me with a book for each student which becomes
the skeleton of topics covered. We also participate in a budget
contest, requiring each student to log their savings for the semester.
A $50 prize is awarded to the student who can save the most money
and verify it with me. I rarely have a student walk into class late.
More often they are anxious to get right into their portfolios to
update their current value and to check on new companies discussed
Since revamping the business program at Liverpool High
School four years ago, I take every opportunity I can take to increase
my knowledge so I can maintain a current and relevant curriculum.
It is necessary to make the courses interesting and aligned with
global changes all around us. Students are becoming eager to understand
the economic implications of world news, they are sharing investment
strategies and talking about parent investment choices as well as
taking control of their financial picture at an early age. As a
teacher, my reward is seeing a student begin to save his or her
money, learn how to use credit wisely before college, and respect
the economic indicators in the news with an understanding that it
affects each of them as well as their parents. One of my students
from last year stopped me in the hall, excited to tell me that once
he turned 18, he invested $500 in the market and had already made
$200. He was so proud to tell me that he learned enough information
from our class to feel confident to dive in and watch his money
work for him. We also take the financial students to the New York
Stock Exchange so they can experience Wall Street first hand.
As a teacher for 23 years, I am excited to meet with my
students and see their interest sparked into the financial world.
I have so much to learn, but it certainly is not a chore. My lessons
are constantly changing as I learn more in my efforts to be the
best for my kids. There have been many of those "special moments"
when I have a room of 25 teenagers silently listening to me, focused
on my every word on how to learn life's lessons on how to use money
wisely. This is why I am a teacher.