Conversations with our educators

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It’s Educator Appreciation Month at SecureFutures! We’ve reached out every week through the month of April with some special giveaways for our educator partners, and we’ve also asked them to share some thoughts with us about their experience during this unprecedented time. We’re so grateful to the many who shared! Here’s what they said:

How are you doing in this new environment?

I am working on the SecureFutures Financial Lit lessons right now and am loving the Financial Fitness lessons.  They cover just about EVERY part of “Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Personal Financial Literacy” and I really appreciate it!

It’s difficult! I’m struggling with student motivation and effort in this online environment. And personally, I’m struggling with missing the kids! Looking forward to hopefully having you guys back in our classroom this fall!

We’re working diligently to continue educating our students. We look forward to having her back in the fall to deliver your amazing curriculum! Thank you for taking the time to check on educators!

The first few weeks of virtual teaching was hard. Putting in 14 hour days while trying to also keep my family happy seemed impossible. Our district has moved to a four day week with Friday being a work day for staff to collaborate so I am happy to have that moving forward.

Staying grateful – doing my best to teach students online and it’s nice to know they miss me too!

Every day is a different day than the last one. Obviously it’s so new to us all and we are hoping for the normal to return.

I’m doing okay! Thinking of my students and how to best support them during this difficult and unsettling time.

We are in the midst of the transition to online learning; it’s a lot of work! We’re also thinking about how we can plan to use Secure Futures more consistently as part of our financial literacy program next year, embedding Money Sense into our classroom program!

It has been a struggle to engage with all of our students virtually. It requires a lot more time to work with each student. While we have been unable to reach some students there are other students that we have been able to reconnect with. So while there are struggles there are also benefits. I hope we can emerge from this crisis in a positive place.

What’s been your favorite moment from the year?

There were several great moments around teaching financial literacy this school year. One that stands out is a girl who had just got her first bank account and her first job with direct deposit. After her first check came in she asked me to help show her how she could put some of her paycheck directly into savings so she wouldn’t be tempted to spend it. I was so proud of her for following the advice of “Pay yourself first.” It was truly amazing when a month later she came in beaming that she had saved over $100. She has a budget and goals and is following through on meeting those goals. I hope she and other students are able to use the financial skills to get through this difficult time when many students had their hours cut or eliminated and their families are struggling economically as well.

When we moved to Distance Learning, the freshman student with an IEP that we thought would require the most support when she came to us at the beginning of the school year became the most responsive, responsible, and easiest-to-work-with student on my caseload! It has continued to show me that students with disabilities still just need opportunities, access, and necessary supports in order to be successful.

I’m remembering that my students are really kind and appreciate the help given by me and my co teacher. They help each other with their lessons and see the value of teamwork!

One of my favorite memories would have to be when my AP Microeconomics students created marshmallow towers to illustrate the differences between fixed & variable costs of production as well as the cost-minimizing rules.

My favorite moment from this school year: Pandemic Virtual Teaching…what an amazing opportunity to grow my skills and look at teaching from a different perspective. Specifically, communicating with kids on a virtual medium to assure they are on pace to graduate. Submitting my 3rd quarter grades on Sunday brought a huge challenge, but upon completion brought huge relief and smile to my face.

One of my students enthusiastically shared with me that he deposited $1,500 into a CD for 6 years! I asked, “You do remember that you cannot touch that money for those 6 years, right?” He replied, “Oh, yeah, I was listening in class, Ms. Nienhaus. I’m ‘Savin’ Money’, our class mantra, by earning more interest than in a traditional account.” Makes me proud. : )

My favorite moment is when a song came on and a student starting dancing. An old skool step… everyone was watching him and he extended is hand out to female student and taught her how to step with him. Then a school counselor came in and joined them. Pretty soon everyone was stepping and dancing! It was great!!

Favorite moment from this school year: Video conferencing with my students for the first time! (It was a disaster, but still fun!)

My favorite moment was when my junior was giving a presentation for marketing our GPS program and he brought up how [SecureFutures volunteer] Ed Miller taught him all about how taxes work and helped him understand banking better. Our class felt Ed was a huge source of financial information and that cemented it. We are certainly having you back every year!

One of my favorite moments of the year was when Mr. D. [SecureFutures volunteer Jon Debbink] came and talked to my students about credit. I think not only did my students get information out of it, but I did too. I went into college with no experience on what credit was and what it means, I don’t want that to happen to my students. Thanks Mr. D!

Although there are many favorite moments in any school year, it is always getting to know the students. With our school’s schedule, I get to meet new students each term and some students I am lucky to have in multiple classes. I have remained in contact with former students and enjoy that I am still part of their lives. I do miss the energy and engagement with my students during this school closure.