Yesterday, I had the opportunity to teach my second lesson to the class. My topic was Scams and Common Pitfalls. The students learned about common scams and pitfalls such as payday loans, check cashing businesses, Advanced Fee Fraud (Nigerian Letter), Rent to Own, Ponzi Schemes, and Identity Theft. I was for the most part satisfied with the participation that I received from my class. That noted, however, I would like to continue to work on making sure all students are active in class; I believe this is an achievable goal given that we usually work with five to six students. One method that was successful in having students actively participate was having them each read aloud when we went over the different types of pitfalls and scams.
I will continue to make sure that my lessons solicit input from students; I know that it will be a continuing challenge to make sure all students are listening and engaged. I also look forward to my next lesson, as I plan on having it be more interactive-in my past lessons, I’ve felt at times as if I am talking too much at the students.
As I write my end-semester reflection and evaluation, I realize I still have some blogging to do! What an experience. This was my first semester with FLCP and looking back on the past couple of months, I can’t believe how fast it all went by. It only seemed like yesterday when my UCity team first got together and we were preparing to meet our students.
What drew me to FLCP and to teaching high school students specifically is the important life skills that are usually absent in the typical Philadelphia Public School curriculum. During a time when decisions made my these students will affect the rest of their lives, from opening a checking account to finding ways to finance college, life skills such as financial literacy are crucial. Week after week, I think our team was successful in presenting relevant lesson plans and topics that will help our UCity students in the real world. I was particularly excited to teach my lesson, which covered emergency funds, common pitfalls, and scams. The students were really responsive to the scenarios I covered and I hope they took away some valuable points. I was a little disappointed that we only had a small group that week, but on the bright side, the students we did have were relaxed and we were able to get to know them better.
Overall, my FLCP experience has been extremely rewarding. I believe that our students took home valuable lessons that I hope they will remember. I’m excited to get to know more students next semester and to keep making an impact in the West Philly community.
This semester has been an extremely rewarding one for me. It offered me a new experience working with an age group that I had not worked with in the past. My only regret was how short our time was with the students. They were all very bright, most of them already had some financial literacy knowledge (or at least intuition), and many were thoroughly intrigued in the topics. Meeting the class for the first time, I was impressed at how smart and motivated most of the students were. In particular, I was amazed that when we asked them what they envision themselves doing in ten years, each of the students seemed to have a well thought-out plan. They wanted to be nurses, mechanics, barber shop owners, business people, and writers. I know that at that age, and even today, I am pretty unsure about where I plan to be in ten years, yet these students seemed to have a pretty good idea. This semester, it was only unfortunate that we had such a brief program with the high school students. Although we did not get the opportunity to develop the type of relationships with the students that often makes these experiences particular rewarding, the teachers and students certainly learned from each other and gained meaningful experience and knowledge. I am looking forward to a spring semester that will be just as enlightening, rewarding, meaningful. Happy holidays, everyone!
Well, it’s been quite a semester. It was my first semester with the Financial Literacy Community Project, and I was definitely excited about it. It started off strong with the great training sessions we had, went through a bit of a rough patch with all of the confusion about teaching at Sayre, and finally really came together when I joined the University City teaching team. I’ve learned a lot over the course of the semester, and I’m really glad that I was able to be a part of FLCP.
One thing that attracted me to FLCP initially was the practicality of what we teach the students. I evaluated a couple of different social impact groups on campus, and I felt strongly that teaching a skill like financial literacy to students was the best way to make a permanent impact on their lives and on the community as a whole. I’m confident that we were able to get many lessons across to them, and I hope that they keep it all in mind as they go through their lives. One thing I didn’t foresee, however, is the impact that the students would have on me. By working one-on-one with them, talking with them about what they hoped to accomplish, and listening to what they thought, my perspective on things was definitely broadened. I’m also more informed about some of the challenges facing low-income neighborhoods. I had never even heard of dedicated check-cashing establishments before, and now I know how they operate and what residents need to do to avoid them.
Being part of FLCP was definitely a learning experience for me – and hopefully the students too! Thanks to everyone who made it possible.
The past two weeks have been odd, I’m used to meeting with my team on Tuesdays and seeing my students on Thursdays. I’m really interested to see how the students did on their final assessment. Do they remember the tools we taught them and have they integrated what they’ve learned into their everyday lives? I’ve learned so much about myself and teaching in general this semester and I’m very thankful for that. I’m excited for next semester, though. Until then I’ll continue to spread the word!
On Friday I attended the Howard E. Mitchel Memorial Conference (HEMM) held by the Black Wharton Undergraduate Association (BWUA) of which I’m an active member. During the celebratory lunch, I sat with officers from the Marine Corp. to the left of me was a retired Marine Officer, Sergent Baker. Interestingly enough, after retirement, he worked with the Philadelphia school system to address the violence problem in schools. I then told him about FLCP and we began a great conversation about the Philadelphia school system and the widening achievement gap in the United States. Sergent Baker stressed the rising cost of education – not only is college tuition going up but the amount of investment in a student’s schooling is increasing as well.
I came across this article on cnn.com that does a decent job explaining the rising costs of college tuition. Part of the problem is systematic, other parts are due to favoritism, preferences, and bureaucracy.
“U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan addressed some of these concerns in a speech where he urged colleges to get serious about their cost problem. But there’s only so much the federal government can (and should) do. The underlying structure of American higher education needs dramatic reform before there will be any relief in sight”
Although the federal limit should limit its influence on college’s affairs as the article states, there’s nothing keeping the federal government from spending more of its budget on high education to help battle this gap.
For our last lesson, Max and I created a Jeopardy game for the students to serve as a review. The process of making the game and lesson plan was actually quite hard. Although we weren’t teaching an actual lesson, making the lesson plan was still challenging. Just thinking about all the different components that we wanted to cover made me realize how much material we had covered throughout the semester. It was also difficult to come up with questions for the game, since I wasn’t always sure whether the question was too hard or too easy.
I was very impressed with how much the students had learned throughout the semester. They seemed to understand all the major points that we had gone over and it was extremely rewarding to see that all our hard work had paid off. Although we didn’t have very much teaching time with the students, I think I have learned a lot about myself through participating in FLCP and I hope to continue in the future!
Kathryn and I were able to be co-head teachers for our final class with the U. City students. We wanted the last session to be a fun review of what we have covered this semester, so we decided to play Financial Literacy Jeopardy! We looked through all the lesson slides and came up questions that we thought covered some of the most important material. We particularly had fun coming up with the $400 (most difficult) questions. For example, how much does it cost to send off the CSS profile to a college? Do you know? ($16, if you were curious).
Luckily, attendance was quite good for the final class. It was a shame that I didn’t get to see some of the students I felt I had connected more with, but we still had a great group. We divided into teams of four and assigned one of the teachers to help out each team (without divulging the answer, of course!). Stakes were high – we had asked for two big bags of candy from Stacy as prizes for getting questions right. The students were pretty excited to get started. I would say that the game went pretty smoothly overall. We went around the room, giving each team a question. They would discuss the question amongst themselves for about a minute and then give their final answer. The discussion bit would sometimes get a little rowdy, as students excitedly tried to convince their teammates that their answer was the correct one. It was great to see the students get so excited about financial literacy concepts. If the team got the question right, they each got a piece of candy. It all came down to the Final Jeopardy question: “What does FAFSA stand for?” After an intense minute of writing down answers, we saw the results. Only one team out of the four had gotten it right, but we took the opportunity to really drive home the importance of FAFSA. That’s one lesson I’m very sure we got across.
Finally, after the game of Jeopardy, we opened up for questions about anything: financial literacy, college life, etc. We answered a couple of money and financial aid related questions, as well as, “Do you guys go to parties a lot?” I think the students really enjoyed this part of the class. And then, before we knew it, the class was over. It was strange to think that we won’t be teaching this same group of students again – I really liked them. However, I definitely feel it was a successful final lesson. Thanks to everyone who helped make it possible!
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I can say that FLCP is one of the many experiences I can be thankful for this year.
Our last lesson consisted of your run-of-the-mill Jeopardy game (props to Katherine and Max for achieving the full effect with sound clips), complete with candy prizes to winning responses and groups. Jeopardy categories covered the entire semester’s worth of topics. I was happily impressed by the level of knowledge retention exhibited by the students; on many accounts they hardly even required my assistance. Based on their performance during the interactive lesson, I was pleased to note the enthusiasm and competitiveness that the students exhibited, and their ability to call the slightest details from some of the lessons this fall. I can only hope that the students were as appreciative of the lessons as I was of the teaching process, and that they begin to see the pertinence of the material and its applications in their daily lives.
Working with the students and fellow teachers in my UCity teaching group was a fun and engaging experience; one that I am looking forward to continuing and building upon next semester with FLCP.
I really enjoyed working with Financial Literacy Community Project this semester because it really exposed me to something different. In the past, whether through FLCP or other community based organizations, I have always worked with younger students. Whether serving as a tutor with West Philadelphia Tutoring Project, a mentor with Community Schools Student Partnerships, or a teacher the previous semester with FLCP, I have always had the pleasure of working with elementary school students. The challenges that come with working with students at that age range include finding a balance between maintaining their attention versus allowing them to be active and building teamwork skills versus learning the content individually. Throughout the course of this semester, despite working with seniors in high school who are a decade older, I have found that the same type of difficulties remained. I faced the challenge of maintaining their attention, but not because they could not focus after a long day of school, but because they needed a challenge. I faced the challenge of allowing the students to be active not by incorporating games into the lesson plan, but by making the lectures more interactive and engaging. Although many of the challenges remained the same, they were a result of different factors, and could be resolved using different tactics. Throughout the course of this short semester, I know that I have learned a lot about working with students of a different age group, developed some new teaching strategies, and had a great time learning from the students.
Today is our last class for FLCP and I would like to think also the culmination of our teachings. Although we have only had 5 sessions, the students have already demonstrated smarter money management skills in their conversations with each other. I hope that in their internships to come after Thanksgiving, they will remember how to budget their income into needs and wants and not simply blow it all on a pair of shoes.
Unfortunately there is no tangible way to measure the impact we have had outside of class, but there is a way we can make sure that every student in the class understands the concepts being taught. If we can observe a willingness to apply them in everyday life, then I believe that they will demonstrate these skills when the situation arises. At the same time, I do have some reservations for the students that have not been able to pay as much attention simply because they have not been able to attend every class. The range of students in the class is a broad spectrum from active participators to passive listeners. Although we cannot make anyone invested in the material, we can show them its importance and trust it will resonate with them at some point in life.