My students didn’t know the value


Maybe you are new around here, or just don’t know, but I was a high school teacher for six years. I taught chemistry to mostly juniors and seniors.

But in addition to chemistry, we would have a lot of side life lessons when things we were discussing just didn’t click with them. I thought, in the long run, teaching them about life would serve them well if they still hadn’t learned it already. If I’m teaching my kids the value of a dollar, I think that these “kids” of mine should know it, too.

dollar bill

They liked to tell me they were “grown” and didn’t need adults in their lives. They said “I’ve got a job. I’ve got money.” They really had no clue.

So one day after a weird schedule and a little extra time, we had a talk about money and how far their job money ($8-$10/hour if you are wondering) would really get them. We did a little budget exercise to show them the money coming in and money going out. Yep, we made a budget just like my husband and I do at home. 

We figured if they made a generous $10/hour and were lucky enough to work 40 hours a week, they’d have approximately $1600/month. That alone didn’t put things into perspective for them. They heard thousand and got excited. It wasn’t until we broke everything down that it started to hit home. We didn’t even take into account taxes, health insurance, social security or anything else that would be deducted.

After we accounted for all of their “must have” items: rent/mortgage, electricity, water, gas, cable, internet, clothes, hair styling, and more (yes, they made this list), they were out of money. 

Check that list again….there is NO FOOD on that list. They ran out of money and didn’t even feed themselves (or their families). Hmmm. That got them thinking. And got me thinking. How in the world did these kids make it to 16-18 years old and have no real idea of how much things cost and how much their parents spend on everyday living?

I’m not sure if it really hit home with them, but if just one or two of them got it, then I call it a win. It was a reminder, too that we need to continue to teach our girls about money and what things cost so as they grow, they understand how hard they will have to work and how much things really cost.

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  1. Yep! I think so many kids just don’t get it. And their parents never teach them. Then they go out in the real world and get in all kinds of trouble when reality hits. Yikes.

    1. It’s really the cycle of poverty…well at least in this case. So very sad.

  2. Ashleen Moreen says:

    I think, parent’s should teach their little ones how to handle money. I mean, as soon as they are able to understand the word money and they already know how the word “savings” mean, then it’s time to teach them how to be responsible with your money and their money.

  3. Good for you! That’s something I didnt learn until I was out in the real world on my own and not making ends meet.

    $10/hr is minimum wage here, though. So likely HS graduates would make more, especially if they stay at one job long enough.

    1. So many kids don’t learn until they are like $10000 in debt..and that’s not good at all!

      I have no idea what minimum wage is…

  4. Such a good lesson to learn……and early on, too. 🙂

    1. Seriously, the alternative is so scary and sad for them.

    1. That was suppose to be a period at the end. Suppose to be what a great lesson to teach. It is very important that kids learn the value of a dollar before they go out into the world.

      1. What’s scary is what happens to the kids that don’t learn and didn’t learn!

  5. I think it is great that you taught them the value of money, It is sad that so many children and teenagers do not know how to manage money or even what their parents do to provide them with the things they have. We need to educate our children more on daily things and not just academics.

    1. Bingo! It’s not all about the academics sometimes! Sometimes, there are more important likfe lessons to learn.

  6. For 20 years or so I taught a class called “on your own” to help prepare seniors to face the world. I taught them how to make a budget, balance a check book, do their taxes, plan a healthy diet, interview for a job …etc…etc. I was always amazed at how little they knew and how little they cared. IM GLAD YOU ARE STARTING EARLY WITH YOUR GIRLS. Good job… You are a great mom. Hugs, Lura

    1. There are so many things wrong with education now…no time to teach life lessons..we must teach to the test. It’s really bad. They don’t know how to do any of this now. And we aren’t training kids to have skills, either. So frustrating.

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