In our mission towards financial literacy for all, it's our educators that help us get there. For #FinancialLiteracyMonth, we're celebrating our amazing educators across the country. This week, meet Beth Mullaney, an elementary teacher at Nevada Prep in Las Vegas, Nevada. With FitMoney, Beth has helped hundreds of young students on their journey towards financial fitness with the $uperSquad interactive platform.
“What is the best way you can connect with a student?”
To me, authenticity opens the doors to more meaningful connections with my students. When I share myself as a real person with honest emotions, flaws, good, bad and exhausted days, happiness, silliness, sadness, anger, frustrations, joys, laughter and sorrows; it is then that each unique classroom dynamic evolves. This is when the memorable conversations occur. This is when thoughts grow wings and learning is activated. There is a beautiful, mutual vulnerability that is cultivated when a teacher and a student feel free to be their authentic selves. When this occurs, we all learn and grow together. My job as a teacher, however, goes far beyond the classroom walls, and being an example in and out of the classroom is of the utmost importance. Recess, lunch, morning hellos, afternoon goodbyes, my communication with other teachers and those random moments in between are all teaching (and learning) moments.
“What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a teacher?”
Flexibility - The Tao of Gumby: Each day as a teacher, I am reminded that the one thing that is constant is change. As important as it is for me to have completed lesson plans and a clear agenda, it is equally important to be ready at any given time for the inevitable classroom cataclysm. Flexibility is a virtue. The ability to provide a smooth transition is something that takes time to cultivate, and oh how I’ve struggled with this. If I am in panic mode, my students will feel the same. If I’m able to adjust to change, my students will ride the waves with me. We learn and grow together. This is one of the many beautiful things about the special bond of teachers and students.
“Why do you believe financial literacy is so important to teach?”
With aspects of Mathematics, Finance, History, Economics, Social Studies and ELA, students learn valuable life skills that reach far beyond the classroom. Although our students do not always see adults in their lives making good decisions, the FitMoney program teaches them skills that can change their lives forever. Through lessons about insurance, borrowing and lending, students learn how to decide what makes something valuable and how to protect the things that matter most. 3rd grade lessons teach valuable information about borrowing, lending and trust. Early in the program, students learn about the difference between wants and needs, the meaning of being responsible or irresponsible, and reliable or unreliable These are all lessons that can be applied to our daily lives.
“Can you share a short anecdote or takeaway from working with FitMoney?”
After watching Elf on repeat for far too many hours, with nothing better to do, a high fever and absolutely no energy, I decided to research “Top Rated Financial Literacy Programs for 3-5th grade.” I came across FitMoney, researched, tried it out, loved it, my students loved it, and the rest is history.