By STEVEN NALLEY
For Ginger Tedder, economics is about more than money.
Tedder, an economics teacher at Starkville High School, said her curriculum does teach the financial literacy she believes students need to emerge from Mississippi's socioeconomic challenges. She said such emergence also requires a change of mindset, and that's where things no one can put a price on come in.
"Scarcity, decision making, and choice are key themes in economics; these themes are also key themes in life," Tedder said. "We make economic decisions daily, and those decisions have ramifications in life and society. I enjoy leading my students to the realization that, in life, good decision making and choice lead to success. This is why I am passionate about teaching economics. The very real and life-changing skills imparted through economic principles can be the impetus for the success of my students."
Today, Tedder begins a five-day Teacher's Workshop with NYSE Euronext, aimed at helping educators teach students about the financial marketplace, the global economy, New York Stock Exchange trading platforms, the capital-raising process and more.
Tedder said she received an e-mail from NYSE Euronext while leading her students in the Stock Market Game, a market simulation created by the Mississippi Council on Economic Education to teach students finance and investing skills. She said SHS had multiple teams ranked in the game's top 10 in Mississippi and one team in the top 40 at the national level.
"My students were very passionate about growing the portfolios," Tedder said. "To hear them talking about stocks and developing an awareness of how local and world events impact the stock market is the payoff. These investments can lead to financial security."
The NYSE Euronext program offers fellowships which pay for travel, hotel and registration expenses plus $50 daily cash stipend for teachers in under-served communities, giving preference to applicants at Title I or other under-resourced schools. Tedder received one of these fellowships, and she said she would not have been able to attend NYSE Euronext without it.
"I am extremely excited and gratified to receive this fellowship," Tedder said." It is also an investment in Mississippi, as I can share this experience with my colleagues. Programs such as this allow teachers these otherwise out-of-reach experiences that we use to inspire our students. I am delighted that my passion translated in my application and the NYSE Euronext Fellowship program decided to afford me this opportunity."
According to the program's brochure, topics NYSE Euronext covers include market structure, market regulation, trading platforms and technology, derivative products, securities industry careers and classroom resources. Tedder said the program is not only an opportunity for her, but also for all of her SHS students by extension.
"It will allow me to further impact my students with a first-hand account of the inner workings of the stock market," Tedder said. "I will be able to describe the process of trading better because I will be given an inside glimpse of the workings of the NYSE."
Tedder said her students have developed a strong interest in economic skills like financial planning in light of the recent recession. She said the students are bright and motivated, and they only need good tools to be successful.
"My students are constantly amazed and shocked by America’s debt and its contribution to the recession," Tedder said. "In addition, they are fascinated by the idea of the American dream of instant wealth. I impart upon them that while possible in the short term, most financially successful individuals worked very diligently and made good decisions to gain their success."
Current events are an effective means to teach students economic principles, Tedder said, and she often uses events from local newspapers for maximum relevance. She also uses an M&M budgeting game and other hands-on activities to keep students engaged and make lessons memorable.
"Also, we have many classroom discussions with topics relevant to the students, especially college," Tedder said. "I know I have been successful at making my students cognizant of their world when they bring topics, current events or news articles to class to discuss. I love seeing them aware of the economics surrounding us daily. Many times, they bring questions to class that serve as a springboard to class discussion. My students are usually very lively and opinionated in these occasions."