To be a strong educator, you must connect to the students in the classroom and present them with valuable information to help them succeed later in life. This means more than memorizing dates and equations. Educators must provide their students with skills to help them achieve their goals and continue to build off accomplishments.
Too many teachers expect the students to adapt to the curriculum, but instead, it should be the other way around. The educator must create a curriculum that can be relatable to their students and their needs.
How to Fight the Losing Battle for Attention: More Real-Life Lessons
One perfect way to grasp the students’ interest and have them sit up and take notice is to introduce more real-life lessons in the classroom that they can immediately use from here on out. Once the students can identify how these lessons can impact their future and are relevant to their lives, they will have their attention spans grow like never before with a newfound talent to focus.
What Are the Life Lessons Which Need to Be Taught More Often?
Of course, we realize that more life lessons need to be introduced into the classroom since they are often not adequately addressed at home. One of the life lessons that should be addressed at every grade level deals with financial literacy.
Dave Ramsey is an American radio host that has helped millions of people be more financially responsible and get out of debt for good. Just listening to his show for an hour or two a day is like taking a Master’s class in Finance. Ramsey explains things simply so all who listen can take his advice and run with it.
According to Ramsey, the definition of financial literacy is the possession of skills that allows people to make smart decisions with their money. There are essentially five components that make up financial literacy: Earning, Saving and Investing, Spending, Borrowing, and Protecting.
Perhaps more now than ever, students and their families need a solid financial literacy foundation to survive. There are some startling statistics that educators need to be aware of that should teach the life skill of financial literacy a necessity.
- 4 out of 5 workers in the United States live paycheck to paycheck.
- 75 percent of adults are in debt and do not have an educated plan to get out of it.
- More than 25 percent of adults do not save money from month to month.
- More than 40 percent of Americans do not have an emergency fund of $400 in the bank.
- 25 percent of adults have no retirement savings.
These statistics were calculated before COVID kept many in quarantine for months at a time with no chance of work. These numbers have only become worse since then.
By teaching financial literacy early and often in school, educators would be displaying that they really do care about their students’ future. And isn’t that what educators are supposed to worry about? The students’ future success?
Educators and administrators must ask themselves three questions when creating a curriculum.
- Do you care about all of your students and preparing them for future success?
- How is this class helping students succeed now?
- How is it preparing them to succeed in the future?
With so many adults struggling with finances and having an evident lack of financial literacy, we can’t expect parents who struggle to pass down pertinent information that will keep the students out of debt in their adult lives.
Career Exploration and Becoming an Entrepreneur
Two other financial literacy areas that need to be addressed in the classroom during life lessons should be career exploration (possibilities to further education) and whether students would instead work for themselves and become entrepreneurs.
While college is often stressed as the end goal for high school students, other options should be considered. Educators must stress this in the classroom! College isn’t always meant for everyone. If high school seniors choose to attend college, they need to go in with a plan in place to ensure they will have a career when they graduate. This means earning a degree that they can actually use.
According to Complete College America and the Department of Education, students are now spending an average of six years in college. When they emerge with their degree, they usually have some serious debt on their hands. There are better alternatives that should be considered heavily for many students that are unsure about higher education. And it is up to educators to lead the way.
We shouldn’t tell the students to take a couple of years off after graduating from high school and start backpacking across Europe while living off the land. But there are great options, such as attending a trade school that is much less expensive and can be completed in a year or two. Students could also do a paid apprenticeship or join the military if they so choose.
Encouraging students to become entrepreneurs would not be such a bad thing either. All it takes is one idea or a passion for the industry, and they can turn it into a business and a prosperous living down the road. While you don’t need a college degree to start your own business, taking some courses about business and budgets would be in their best interest. But for many, starting a business would take much less money than attending college. With the popularity of online companies nowadays, a brick-and-mortar store is no longer needed. Just a website and a presence on social media can carry you a long way.
How to Introduce Life Lessons Through Classroom Curriculum
Changing classroom curriculum is not a pleasant thought for many veteran educators. And who can blame them? They may have spent the last two decades building a curriculum they are comfortable with teaching. But once again, it goes back to those three questions listed above. Is the current curriculum adequately preparing these students for the future? Regardless of race, rich or poor people are struggling with financial literacy and choosing a suitable career path to follow. Teachers can help with this. Teachers should help with this.
Consider these ideas for connecting life lessons to classroom lessons.
Students have a way of tuning out their own teachers, but somehow, they can focus much better when a guest speaker is introduced in the classroom. Especially when the information they are imparting is valuable to their future.
Think of how many perfect guest speakers can be brought to educate your students on financial literacy, possible career options, and the joys of becoming an entrepreneur. Furthermore, with video conferencing being used daily in classrooms around the globe now, you can reach out to guest speakers that are not just hundreds of miles away from the class’s physical location but from whole other countries.
Again, the number of guest speakers you could invite is countless.
- Financial Planners
- Loan Officer
- Business Owners
- College Academic Advisor
- Trade Workers
- Various People from Different Professions to Talk About Career Choices
- Debt Collectors
- People Who Have Been in Debt and Were Able to Get Out of It
All of these guest speakers have something valuable to offer students. Depending upon the age of the students, teachers will have to choose speakers that are age-appropriate.
iAchieve Can Help!
If you are struggling with creating an up-to-date curriculum, iAchieve can be of assistance. We offer professional workshops for educators that have need to add to their curriculum planning.