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HSFPP Stories of Impact

Credit Card Lessons Give Student Hope for a Life Beyond Debt

HSFPP Stories of Impact

real teachers real stories

by Julie Johnson, Business Teacher, Minneapolis, Minn.

I consider myself blessed that I have had many instances where students have communicated to me in various ways that they just "got" it as I've been teaching personal finance.

One instance that sticks out in my memory happened a few years ago—right after a class that I had just covered credit cards and debt. …The bell rang to dismiss class and one student stayed seated with her head down and didn't get up to leave. I asked her if everything was alright and she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said that her single mom worked so hard to provide for her and her siblings, however, her mom was in so much credit card debt because she had misused credit cards in the past. Now, she had to pay off so much of her debt every month that hardly anything was left over, and it was so hard to make ends meet.

She said her tears were happy tears because she had been so scared that her mom's fate would also be her own fate because she didn't know how to properly use credit cards. She felt a life of debt and not being able to make ends meet would surely be her fate too, but she said she was crying happy tears of relief and release because of what I had just taught them. She knew more about credit cards and how to use them wisely. She thanked me profusely and said that she knew for sure that she would use this information to help her and make her life better in the future.

I was so thrilled that I could make a difference in her life, and I asked her to pay it forward and share the info she had learned in class with her mom and others in her life so maybe it could make a positive impact in their lives too.