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Getting Out of Your Own Way (Personal Finance Series Pt. 2)

I don’t know enough. It’s not like I’m an expert. I might give them the wrong advice. A student might know more than me. I haven’t lived long enough to know all the facets of personal finance. What I have to offer won’t be helpful.

Lies. Swirling around in my brain and yet- still lies. Sometimes when I teach something new or try to cover a topic I don’t feel adequate in, these lies will pop up. These lies tell me I’m not enough, I’m unworthy, I shouldn’t even try. And you know what? If I listen to them, my students miss out. Every single time.

After all, the first time I teach something, it won’t be perfect. It might not even be good. But I can’t let that stop me from trying, from growing, from getting feedback, from improving, from helping my students have the skills necessary to navigate adulthood.

So when it comes to teaching personal finance, it’s all about working through the lies in your head. Because once you do, you can open up the opportunity for your students to learn. And friend, let me tell you another secret. It’s not about you. It’s about them. That’s what teaching is about. Students. And so we have to get out of our own way in order to give these almost-adults some much needed financial wisdom.

In my previous blog post in this series, I covered the “why” of teaching personal finance to high schoolers in the economic classroom. Check that blog out here.

Now it’s time to give you (and myself, always) a little pep talk to get you going. If you’re already rearing to go and just looking for the how, don’t worry- I got you. It’s coming in the next two blogs of this series (releasing each Wednesday in January) or you can check out my personal finance project here.

So you know how important it is to teach financial literacy in your economics classroom, but when you think of introducing it, all the fears and doubts start to creep in. I know the feeling all too well. And sister, let me tell you. You’ve got to change your thoughts to change your feelings. To get over the mental roadblock, you’ve got to take a minute to sit with your feelings. Don’t go on social or turn on the tv. Really sit with your feelings. Write down the thoughts you’re thinking that make you not want to go for it.

And then decide whether you want to keep thinking these thoughts or change them. How do you change them? Consciously decide to dismiss the doubt, confusion, frustration, or inadequacy. And replace your thoughts with ones that serve you better.

Try these ones on for size: I have wisdom to share. I know how to budget. I am able to help my students. I know how to use google to find what I need. I am capable. I can contact experts if I need help. I can create a project that will serve my students.

And when the fears pop up again, consciously decide to think your new thought. Make sure it feels true for you. Let it fuel your desire to create, to help, to serve, to implement, to take action. Friend, you can do it. You just need to get over your fears and start.

Confusion, doubt, and fear paralyze. And your students miss out. Choose something better. Is it easy? Not usually. Is it worth it? Always.

And hey, if you really don’t know much about personal finance, make the project research-based. It’s honestly the best way to teach the content anyways because students discover the information for themselves. Learn alongside your students. Allow it to be a process for everyone involved. And grow for next year.

You’ve got this.

With love,

Mrs. P

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