The Only Requirement Is “Are You Alive?”


“When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”
― A.W. Tozer

Do substitute teachers hold a solution for our nation’s curse of financial illiteracy?

For many, the recollection of having a substitute teacher resembles something like this:

  • The VCR cart being rolled into the classroom.
  • The horrible mispronunciation of names.
  • Student pranks on the attendance list. Is Joe Mama here? Joe Mama?

When I taught in a tough urban NYC middle school we could not even get substitutes to show up.  The regular teachers would fill the gap.

One of the few times I was absent, they managed to dig up a substitute.The next day when I came back, I was told by the Dean, that she was found in the hallway crying after the students threw her out of the room and locked the door!

How are these bands of abused temps going to teach kids about money? A company called Parachute Teachers just might have the answer.

An excellent article in The Atlantic by Hayley Glatter, Solving the Substitute-Teacher Conundrum, might provide some answers.

Parachute Teachers want to break the mold of our current dysfunctional and wasteful substitute teacher system.

“The company, founded by Sarah Cherry Rice, operates as a marketplace for community members—whether they’re scientists, writers, actors, or engineers—to leverage their talents in front of a classroom when the students’ typical teacher is unable to be there. Parachute Teachers create lesson plans based on their areas of expertise and then bring that knowledge directly to students; essentially, a day without a classroom teacher suddenly becomes a special career day instead.”

A big reason many smart kids are turned off by school is they cannot connect the material to their life.  Surprisingly, how to calculate the area of a Rhombus does not fit into the daily drama of a typical teen.

Imagine —  instead of the old  guy who turns on the T.V. and then buries his head in a newspaper —  kids were exposed to exciting careers they never knew existed.

Personally, I think this program would be a great way to recruit the next generation of real financial advisors.

C.F.P.s and others could visit the classrooms and engage students about the satisfaction of helping people achieve their financial goals and making good money while they are it.

Relevant real life lessons could be created using such important financial concepts such as wants vs. needs, investor psychology, and market history.

Women and minorities could be utilized to inspire those who have the mistaken idea that race or gender will hold them back from attaining a carer in finance.

This  is a win-win situation for everybody. The students, teachers and parents all benefit from turning time that is often wasted, into something inspiring and possibly life-altering for many youngsters.

There is an amazing statistic that points out most students spend six months in their school years with a substitute teacher!

Instead of telling their parents how they watched The Lion King for the 20th time when their teacher was absent, imagine if the dinner conversation changed its tone.

Nothing would make parents happier than if Junior came home and explained  how his substitute teacher taught him the miracle of compound interest.

In the times we live in, we all need to think outside the box.  Revolutionizing substitute teaching would be a terrific place to start.



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