Guru’s financial lessons are going viral on TikTok

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After third-grade math teacher Shelby Lattimore made today’s announcements, the “class banker” handed out everyone’s wallets — sealed envelopes decorated with animals, stars, hearts and cars written in marker and filled with the fake money they’d earned. year.

Lattimore asked the class if they knew what it meant to blow up a balloon. They answered in the affirmative.

“I’m inflating your rents,” she replied, prompting a chorus of grunts, complaints and “noes” throughout the poster-covered classroom.

Lattimore has gone viral on TikTok and Instagram for her creative work teaching financial literacy — using a classroom system that requires her students to pay rent for classroom essentials, including their own desks.

Each week, viewers watch third-grade math students collect “Miss Lattimore Bucks” for their classroom jobs.

“We have a teacher’s aide, a class leader, a door holder, a break basket, a lunch basket. We have a cleaning crew,” Lattimore said.

Third grade teacher Shelby Lattimore went viral on TikTok to teach her students financial lessons by creating a classroom economy (NBC News)

Third grade teacher Shelby Lattimore went viral on TikTok to teach her students financial lessons by creating a classroom economy (NBC News)

“All jobs don’t pay the same,” she said. “Day-to-day jobs, like line leader and teacher’s aide, like those jobs where you have to constantly do something, pay more than jobs that are like every day.” And then or every now and then.”

At the end of the week, students collect their salaries and have a decision: spend it or save it.

The exercise gives them some practical life skills for the real world, Lattimore said.

“Watching my students now appreciate what their parents are going through, of course in a safer environment, kind of gives them that responsibility to move forward as adults.”

Financial literacy, which means having the skills and knowledge needed to make a smart budget, save, invest, and other financial decisions, is in short supply among adults in the United States, according to some studies.

On average, adults correctly answered just 48% of 28 questions in the 2023 TIAA-GFLEC Personal Finance Index, a survey that measures financial literacy. This number was lower for black and Latino respondents, 34% and 38%, respectively.

As a Black teacher at a school in Charlotte that is majority Black and Latino, Lattimore said she hopes classroom economics will help close the financial learning gap for her students.

“Charlotte is known for generational poverty,” Lattimore said. “A lot of my students of color, Hispanic, black, whatever, they see their parents, they see their guardian, they see their grandmothers, grandfathers, whoever, maybe living. They see money management as not necessarily thinking about the long term and the consequences of that.

Ted Tucker, executive director of the Lattimore Foundation, said teaching children about personal finance in an interactive way like Lattimore does is “very effective.” An institution for teaching economicsan organization committed to providing resources to students and teachers about economics and personal finance.

“We believe that students need to study economics to understand it better. You know, rather than just listening to someone lecture or talk about it, I think what games or simulations do is they allow students to internalize the concepts that are being taught.”

Third grade teacher Shelby Lattimore went viral on TikTok to teach her students financial lessons by creating a classroom economy (NBC News)

Third grade teacher Shelby Lattimore went viral on TikTok to teach her students financial lessons by creating a classroom economy (NBC News)

“I think even at a young age, just having a fair understanding of the cost benefits is very important in our decision-making process,” Tucker said.

In Lattimore’s class, students must “push.” $7 a week to rent their desk and chair.

“Just as I have to pay the bills, they have to pay the bills,” she said.

But they can also use the money they earned to buy rewards, like candy for $2 or a homework ticket for $3. Lunch with a friend costs $5, while lunch with Miss Lattimore costs $7. The highest reward – and most requested – is to “be a tutor for a day” for $30.

“They have to budget for it, but they like the responsibility of taking attendance, telling them when to get in line, when to get up, things like that,” Lattimore said. As part of their learning, Lattimore never allows her students to spend more than they owe.

Brittany Sales said her daughter Marlee, who was in Lattimore’s class last year, had never discussed money before she started learning about it in class.

“She thought they grew on trees and she could spend them,” Sells said. “We literally learned a lot from the way she taught her and how we can connect her to the home,” Sells said.

Now Marley saves the money she receives for her birthday and holidays, and budgets to spend it on wish list items, including a new pair of Nike shoes.

“It took me about three months to save up,” Marley said.

The success of her creative education has also provided a windfall for Lattimore, who has created brand collaborations and monetized her videos through TikTok’s creator program.

Third grade teacher Shelby Lattimore went viral on TikTok to teach her students financial lessons by creating a classroom economy (NBC News)

Third grade teacher Shelby Lattimore went viral on TikTok to teach her students financial lessons by creating a classroom economy (NBC News)

“Last year, I made six figures, which is crazy, because my teacher salary isn’t even half that,” Lattimore said.

With over 25 million likes and 793,000 followers on TikTok, Lattimore’s fans often comment on funny reactions from students who complain about having to spend their money responsibly and Intimate care Lattimore gives them. She can be seen in the videos handing out everything from hugs to extra snacks to toothbrushes to her students.

Fans also sent school supplies, books, care packages, and snacks to her classroom.

Lattimore said she gets excited every day to go to work for one reason only: “It’s going to sound so corny, but it’s them.”

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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