“Daddy….it’s a spider!” Sophie (my 6 year old) screamed as she jumped off the sofa and ran to the other side of the room…
“One thing you’ve got to remember Soph” I said “Is that those spiders are more scared of you than you are of them…”
“Okay” said Sophie now breathing more deeply “What shall I do…”
“You’ve just go to face your fears, pick up the spider and take it to the garden…”
As we looked over to the spider deciding it was time to leave the Sofa scampered off the sofa and headed towards the open door towards the garden.
“He probably heard us…” said Sophie as she clambered back on the Sofa happy that her arachnid friend had decided to find an alternative place to rest his legs.
I find myself thinking about this little amusing vignette from my life as I stand outside a classroom.
“Remember Chris” I say to myself “They’re probably more intimidated by you than you are by them…”
You see on this particular day I was spending a little bit of time talking to young people about money.
I believe in a few things which meant I was sitting outside this classroom on a Hot sunny Wednesday morning…
Firstly young people would benefit from understand more about both some financial concepts as well as some of the practicalities of the impact of money in their daily lives.
Secondly I believe in ‘doing well’ and ‘doing good’. Running a profitable growing business is fine but we need to do our best to make a positive impact in the world too.
It’s why we’re sponsoring a classroom of pupils at Sanders school through a financial education program and it’s how I’ve found myself standing outside a classroom waiting to speak to this particular class.
Thirdly I quite like a challenge. I like trying new things which are a little out of my ‘comfort zone’…
…and I was out of my comfort zone.
You see whilst I’d presented plenty of times in the past sometimes to pretty large audiences…
…they were audiences normally filled with Adults.
‘Talking money’ with a classroom of young people was a different challenge and one which I was looking forward to…but also was pretty intimidating!
Which is why I found myself outside the classroom thinking about the advice I gave Sophie and was trying to take a spoonful of my own medicine!
The teacher, Jo, and I went into the classroom and waited for the pupils to arrive.
“I’ve got to tell you” said Jo “They’re a pretty quiet bunch!”
“Okay” I said thinking about how this might absolutely bomb with no ‘audience engagement’…not for the first time but possibly this might be the most embarrassing!
The young people came into the room, Jo introduced me and I started to speak.
I tried to ask loads of questions, the young people got involved by answering them.
We talked about the cost of living, risk and fraud and there was a wide range of answers to my questions on each area.
A couple of the kids had questions of their own and whilst it was a pretty ‘quiet bunch’ as I walked around the classroom when they performed their own particular individual work they chatted to me about the work they were doing and asked me a bunch of additional questions…
…and with that the lesson was over, and I’ve got few thoughts from the experience.
Firstly I was surprised how knowledgeable some of the kids were.
One particular boy seemed to be uncannily accurate on what the average property prices both in 1977 and 2018!
Others in the class understood a bunch of different concepts including how shares work, scams and diversification.
The level of knowledge was both surprising and really encouraging.
Secondly the fact that schools are looking to happily engage with professionals who are looking to help.
Working to help schools wasn’t something I’d considered before but trying to help the school in a tiny way by a small bit of sponsorship as well as my engagement was really useful, and really really rewarding. I’d encourage other professionals to certainly get involved!
and thirdly…I think I’ll stick with running a financial planning business instead of teaching!
Whilst the intimidation melted away pretty quickly when I started to chat to the kids I’ve got a huge amount of admiration for teachers. I can see why teaching is so rewarding…but I think I’ll stick with working with individuals and business owners and leave the teaching to the proper education professionals.
Thanks to the team at Sanders and the young people in the class we’re sponsoring…
…we look forward to working with you both now and in the future!