HSFPP Stories of Impact
by Ashley Toton-Trombley, Math Teacher, Croswell, Mich.
When my students were working on a unit about credit cards, I overheard two students talking before class. Student A said to Student B, "I asked my mom about her credit score last night. She didn't know. I asked her if she had a credit card and if she paid it on time. She said she did and she pays all of her bills on time so it must be pretty high." Student B, "That's good. My mom has an awesome credit score. I asked if she could add me as an authorized user on her card so I could start building credit and she said sure. I hope I don't screw it up though." Student A, "As long as you don't spend more than you have to, you should be fine. Just don't forget to pay it." Student B, "Yeah. I'm gonna try not to use it much. I think I will only spend what money I already have so I don't get behind." Student A, "Good idea. Your mom would be so mad if you got behind!"
Listening to the students think seriously about how to build their credit score and how not to overspend on your credit card was great. Most teenagers think they can spend whatever they want to because it is not their money. I loved seeing that these two students understood that they have to be careful with credit cards and to only use them when they need to. The best part was that they had started this conversation organically and did not realize I was listening in. I feel confident that my students will be more likely to use credit responsibly than if they had not taken my class.