HSFPP Stories of Impact
by Hyam Elsaharty, Special Education Instructor, Chicago, Ill.
I am a high school special education teacher and I teach financial math as an elective to seniors. Most of my students have learning and/or emotional disabilities.
Recently, I was teaching the first part of the Earning Power lesson where students have to list their achievements. I have a student in the class who suffers from depression and anxiety. I had to really prompt him to dig to identify things that he's good at and/or has been recognized for. He shared that he was good at video games as he wins online tournaments. I celebrated this ability and we ended up having a chat that led to the topic of financial prizes since he is 18 and is eligible to enter such contests.
A couple of weeks later he walked into class and revealed that he won $200 in a gaming competition! This lesson led to him building his confidence and using his skills for an untapped source of earning power. I knew I had made an impact because this student is so terribly anxious (he cannot even eat in the school cafeteria and instead sits in the counseling office) and this lesson and result was a real source of pride for him. That was the indication of the “click,” and it was one of the coolest things that I’ve been a part of as a teacher.