Jan 02, 2017

NGPF Podcast: Tim Talks To HS Educator Jonathan Joseph About Weaving Sports into His Economics Course


Happy New Year! I am excited for another year of podcasts (and hope that you are too). This week’s guest, Jonathan Joseph, is an award-winning Economics and personal finance teacher at his alma mater, White Plains High School in White Plains, New York (proving that you CAN go home again!). He shares his secrets to engaging ALL students through an innovative curriculum he built which uses examples from sports to demonstrate economic principles. Who knew the NFL salary cap would find its way into a high school classroom? You will also learn how he develops empathy for his students starting on day one and how he uses this to create a class that addresses their economic anxieties.


  • 0:00~1:12 – Intro
  • 1:12~3:01 – Jonathan’s background
  • 3:01~5:45 – How did Jonathan decide on a college
  • 5:45~8:27 – His first job and what he learned from it
  • 8:27~11:43 – Interest in financial literacy
  • 11:43~12:39 – Beginning to teach personal finance
  • 12:39~15:17 – How he incorporated personal finance into his classroom
  • 15:17~18:41 – Developing empathy for students
  • 18:41~21:34 – First day of class
  • 21:34~22:53 – Difficulties of economics
  • 22:53~27:54 – Weaving sports into economics
  • 27:54~32:45 – Favorite lesson to teach
  • 32:45~33:14 – Commercial
  • 33:14~34:05 – Jonathan describes his classroom’s socioeconomic make-up
  • 34:05~38:07 – Shares a detailed example of a lesson
  • 38:07~43:23 – Jonathan’s teaching style
  • 43:23~44:02 – Stocks or index funds?
  • 44:02~44:28 – Right age to get a credit card?
  • 44:28~45:02 – Right amount of student debt?
  • 45:02~46:04 – What weekly text would he send to his students?
  • 46:04~46:37 – One book they should read?
  • 46:37~47:52 – Parting thoughts
  • 47:52~49:01 – Conclusion
  • “When you make real connections with kids, you’re really making a difference, even if it doesn’t come up right now it will come up in the future.”
  • From an article about Jonathan’s Sloan Foundation Award: “I believe it is my job to show them how curriculum intersects with their passions, and help them remember how much they love to learn,” he said. “Economics is especially well suited to this. It is everywhere. It is a part of every choice we make.”By speaking to their passions, I offer them the opportunity to critically think about both the world they inhabit, and also their own lives.”

About the Author

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

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