Future teachers get in on Money Week lessons
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
In a class where methods and strategies of teaching mathematics are taught, College of Education students at Grand Canyon University learned a different math lesson Monday.
Call it dollars and sense.
Money Week, the annual financial-literacy instruction organized by the Colangelo College of Business (CCOB), has been expanded this year to include future teachers.
The reason is simple:
Every student needs to understand personal finance, not just business students.
“We’re all so busy in our lives, and sometimes just by the giving nature of teachers and who they are – they’re very busy taking care of other people – this work allows them to think about themselves and their family, all while showing how the district cares about them in a variety of ways,” said Dr. Suzanne Zentner, Assistant Superintendent of Strategy and Business Development for Gilbert Public Schools.
“We have found great satisfaction in helping our staff with this work, which is part of a broader wellness program we call BeWell. This program, designed by our employees and led by employees, focuses on physical, emotional and financial well-being.”
Zentner is one of the approximately 100 outside professionals on campus during Money Week offering their perspectives on intelligent handling of personal finances. She spearheads her district’s efforts to make the workforce’s finances a priority.
“It’s also part of a broader employee recruitment and retention strategy to help our employees, given that we care about everyone holistically … beyond their work in their classrooms,” she said.
And if experienced teachers have trouble understanding those sometimes complicated concepts, imagine the consternation of students as they look toward their future.
When Zentner asked members of the early Monday afternoon EDU 470 class how many of them have personal finance experience, only two responded affirmatively. She suggested to start by expense-tracking today while thinking about what’s ahead.
Zentner was invited for these talks by CCOB Dean Dr. Randy Gibb, who was hustling all over campus Monday to check in on as many speakers as possible and was heartened by the students’ reactions. In one CCOB class, for example, eight questions were posed to the speaker, and the session went well past the prescribed 20 minutes.
“If their presentation spurred that many questions from students,” Gibb said, “that’s a great presentation.”
But it only makes sense – dollars and sense – that they would be interested. Financial literacy is that important.
“This is a life skill regardless of what major you have,” Zentner said.
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.