Educator Spotlight of the Month: January 2022
Author: Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana
Published: Tuesday, 11 Jan 2022
Image caption: January 2021 Spotlight: Ben Kahle
Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana gives a spotlight to a local educator every month by publishing an in-depth interview about their JA experience.
JA: What grade do you teach & where?
BK: I teach World History and Economics at North Posey High School. World History has mostly freshmen and sophomores, while Economics is a senior-level course.
JA: Are you a Junior Achievement Alum. If so, tell us about your Junior Achievement experience when you were a student.
BK: I never participated in Junior Achievement as a student at Southridge, but I know that Southridge has had a great JA partnership. My father served as a volunteer for a number of years.
JA: How long have you hosted Junior Achievement programs in your classroom/school?
BK: This is the first time I have hosted JA at North Posey. Very early in my career, I had some experience with JA when I taught at Princeton Community Middle School, but that was a very different curriculum than what is used at North Posey.
JA: Why did you initially choose to have Junior Achievement programs in your classroom/school?
BK: JA's Senior Regional Manager, Ruth Wilson, reached out to me, as this was my first year teaching the Economics course. After discussing what Junior Achievement had previously done in our building, and what other options were available, we settled on the Personal Finance curriculum. I have been wanting to build authentic life lessons on this topic into my curriculum and this was a great match.
JA: What do you enjoy most about having Junior Achievement programs taught to your students?
BK: The personal finance course was fantastic because it delivered real-world instruction that was provided by a successful member of the community. It also allowed a lot of the things that I was teaching students to be immediately and directly reinforced by another adult that they don't hear from everyday.
JA: What reason would you give to another educator on why they should have Junior Achievement programs in their classroom/school?
BK: JA allows the school and the community to form a symbiotic relationship with each other, and provides students an additional role model in their community. In today's climate, students could always use that support.
JA: How do you feel JA relates to what you/other educators teach in the classroom?
BK: The Personal Finance curriculum couldn't have been a better fit for me and my students. I would encourage any educator approached by JA to have the conversation to find the program they offer that suits them best, because there is a lot of relevance to both standards-based instruction as well as related enrichment activities.
JA: What value do you feel a JA volunteer provides you and your students?
BK: As I mentioned before, JA Volunteers not only give my students a different voice to reinforce my content, but they also provide additional role models for students as successful people from their own community.
JA: What is one of your favorite JA moments?
BK: I really enjoyed all of the lessons that JA volunteers provided, but I really thought the occasions where one of my volunteers and I went back and forth sharing crazy experiences in life that reinforced to students the necessity of having emergency savings (if at all possible). Students were truly amazed at all of the things that can go wrong, and how expensive these things are to get fixed!
JA: In what ways has the pandemic changed how JA is being taught in your classroom/school?
BK: Thankfully, we didn't have to change much with JA. I actually said yes to bringing the Personal Finance curriculum and the volunteers who taught it into my classes before checking with my principal (oops). While I thought I was going to have to beg for forgiveness or an exception, he was completely on board with everything, so what could have been an issue turned out to be full support that I'm still thankful for!