People are applauding teacher who charges 3rd-graders 'rent' for their desks and chairs
They have jobs and paydays, too.
Financial literacy is one of the most essential life skills determining someone’s future success and mental and physical well-being. However, only 17% of American students must pass just one semester of a financial literacy-based class to graduate.
This development flies in the face of public opinion on the topic. A recent poll found that 88% of Americans wish they had been taught financial literacy in school. The same number said their state should require either a semester or year-long personal finance course for graduation.
A teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, has taken that problem to heart and is giving her 3rd-grade class rigorous, hands-on lessons on the importance of personal finance.
Shelby Lattimore, a math and science teacher at Renaissance West STEAM Academy, gives her students jobs in the classroom and they pay differently depending on how hard the students work. “We have a teacher assistant, line leader, door holder, recess basket, lunch basket. We have a cleanup crew,” Lattimore said.
Hard Life Lessons in 3rd Grade, my students had to pay rent for the first time! Year Two of collecting classroom rent and it is still the best feeling ever! #rent #money #teacher
Every month, they must pay her “rent” for use of their desks and chairs, just like their parents have to do. And just like in the real world, rent just went up. It was $5 and now it’s $7.
The kids are allowed to use their money for rewards, so they have to consider whether to spend or save every month. “They get paid twice a week and then they have to pay rent once a month, just like me,” Lattimore told WCCBCharlotte.
“Parents from my class are thanking me because a lot of them do live check to check, and they were never taught to think of money, long term,” said Lattimore.
Lattimore believes that teaching financial literacy is especially important in her classroom and surrounding community.
“Charlotte is known for generational poverty,” Lattimore told NBC News. “A lot of my students of color, Hispanic, Black, whatever it may be, they see their parents, they see their guardian, they see their grandmothers, grandfathers, whatever, may be living check to check. They see the money management of not thinking long term necessarily and the consequences of it.”
"It gives you a life lesson on how money is," a female student told WCNC.
The average adult only correctly answers 48% of the questions on the 2023 TIAA Institute-GFLEC Personal Finance Index, a test that measures financial knowledge. Those numbers were lower for Black (34%) and Hispanic people (38%) who took the test.
Students and parents love Mrs. Lattimore, but she’s also found a significant following on TikTok, where over 890,000 users follow her posts. The videos are simple. Lattimore sits at her desk and teaches lessons to her students.
A video where she explained the ins and outs of personal hygiene has received nearly 20 million views. "As a child growing up being neglected, you are going to be remembered as their favorite teacher," Gigi wrote in the comments. "So glad you’re teaching them. Some kids don’t have this at home," Brinley added.
Replying to @Ms.L Pt.2 I never thought I’d have to brush my teeth in front of my entire class but we are here…. #hygieneproducts #teeth #teacher
“It’s organic. You know, they see the relationship that that me and my kids have built together and I think that’s why the following is amazing,” Lattimore told WCCBCharlotte.
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