Sep 19, 2018

A Reflective: My Five Favorite Fellow Lessons

The following blog post comes courtesy of NGPF Fellow, Brian Page, of Reading High School, OH.


What I really wanted to write was “My 146 Favorite Fellow Lessons”, but folks would likely shy away from an article that long, so I stuck with five. This July, a small group of us met at the NGPF Summer Institute to kick off a Fellowship. With only 12 of us, and numerous NGPF staff, the intimate setting led to learning that could not be scripted. Note taking was an ongoing process and went far beyond planned learning targets from each session as presenters and attendees alike continuously added valuable insight. After reading the pages of takeaways from my notes and reflecting on my experience, here are my favorite lessons I will be taking back to my classroom:


  1. Help kids reflect on the value of time.

Tim said something so powerful that I was reflecting on it for days… “Warren Buffett is worth nearly $100 billion, but is 87 years old. Right now, would you switch your life with his?” What an incredibly powerful prompt to include in a lesson. NGPF later sent me the article that inspired Tim to consider the prompt.


  1. Convince kids that buying an expensive car when you’re young is a big waste of money.

Laura’s session began with teachers role playing a Socratic Seminar, and evolved into variations such as a Fishbowl. Jessica chimed in with something she saw a social studies teacher do, a Fishbowl with a debate in the middle. Perhaps it was because Derek and I were discussing our thoughts on Tim’s post Is Your Car Buying Decision Hijacking Your Retirement Savings Plans?, but I immediately thought this would be a perfect format to address the emotions teens face when purchasing their first car. The kids on the outside (Fishbowl) could be the students who have no interest in purchasing a car, or are unlikely to do so in the near future. The kids debating on the inside could be passionate either way. With the right prompts, the debate could easily be used to point out that buying an expensive car is an irrational decision that has a compounding opportunity cost, such as less to invest for retirement.


  1. How to bring philanthropy alive in a classroom project.

It was a two-hour thrill to be a student in a Stanford University D School classroom. In my view, philanthropy can only be taught when the students experience giving, and the lesson we experienced would be the ideal approach in our classrooms. You can also find other great ideas using an award winning lesson by rockstar teacher Kerri Herrild in this podcast.


  1. Creating a real-world investing experience.

Tim led us through the lesson he wrote about in his blog post Investing Activity Idea: How Can a Jar of Jelly Beans Teach Students About the Stock Market? It’s the perfect way to introduce students to the psychology and irrational responses visible in the stock market.

  1. Modeling a best practice for all personal finance teachers.

Following an activity Tim led on credit, I got into the weeds with a few questions. Tim wasn’t sure of some of the answers, but wrote the questions down and promised to find the answers. Pause for a moment and consider that Tim was already a national expert in investing and other areas of personal finance before he founded NGPF. Since then he has spent the past few years learning weekly from national experts while conducting podcast interviews, receives feedback from thousands of teachers, and is constantly reading and learning. This is important context because it highlights that it’s impossible for any of us to always know the right answer in a field that is continuously changing, and guessing with the wrong answer could lead to students making very expensive and compounding mistakes, which is worse than giving no answer at all. I’m not sure if Tim’s inclination was an intentional modeling of something so important, but if I could only pass on one moment I saw that reinforces a best practice, it is to respond with “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” when we don’t know the answer.

The kindness and sincerity of the staff fostered a camaraderie amongst all of us that is unmatched to any training event I’ve ever experienced. Please make sure to register to receive information about the ‘19 Institute so you can enjoy the same experience!


About the Authors

Laura Matchett

After graduating with an education degree and spending 7 years in an elementary classroom, Laura made the switch to the non-profit world and loves interacting with students, educators and business professionals across the country. She is passionate about all students having access to high quality education and views personal finance education as one way to ‘level the playing field’. When Laura is not locating or creating high quality educational resources, you can find her mountain biking or searching for the best ramen in town!

Guest Post

Mail Icon

Subscribe to the blog

Join the more than 11,000 teachers who get the NGPF daily blog delivered to their inbox: