This is a guest post from education expert and consultant Peter Hostrawser over at Disrupt Education. Check him out. The piece was originally titled “Why don’t we actually let students make money while they are in school?”
One thing that has always baffled me is when students get in trouble for selling things in school. Why in this day and age are we not letting students buy and sell things within a school day?! My son and daughter are 13 and 10 years of age. They like stickers and I thought of a way to teach them about commerce and making a little money.
I went on Amazon and bought 100 stickers for $8. The stickers were in a variety pack. There was all types of stickers from rainbows and unicorns to Nike and Marvel characters. I asked my son and daughter which stickers they would like to sell. They each picked about 20 stickers. I asked them how much they could sell them for. My daughter said .50 a piece and my son was going for $1 each. They went to school the next day and I waited to see their results.
When my son came home, he said he didn’t really try to sell them. I got the feeling he was embarrassed to be selling stickers. He is in middle school after all. He is a work in progress. My daughter’s story was different. She is in elementary school in the fourth grade. When her class was lined up to go out for recess, she started asking some of her friends if they would like to buy some stickers. My daughter told me her teacher abruptly said that she couldn’t sell things in school at that moment. She was embarrassed not by her peers, but by her teacher. I like her teacher and knew that she didn’t mean to embarrass my daughter. She was just following policy. Here’s the kicker… a few weeks prior to my experiment with my kids selling stickers, I was asked to come in and speak about business and entrepreneurship. Another mom was also speaking about saving and spending money. So my question is, how are kids supposed to learn about this stuff if they can’t actually do it within their schools? Why is money and students commerce in schools frowned upon? If students only hear about what to do and never practice it, they won’t learn it!
It’s time we let students run their businesses and make money while they are in school!
It’s time to #disrupteducation.