The last month and a half, on Friday afternoon, I’ve been doing a Junior Achievement program for Mrs. Hill’s third-grade class. The program encourages businessmen and women to bring a different perspective to students.
Each session was filled with discussion, games, projects and laughter. I think I appreciated the laughter most of all! I learned very quickly that you don’t always get the answer you expect when you ask students questions. While we were discussing finance I asked, “What kinds of things can you do at a bank?” I received many answers, such as withdraw money or get a loan. Things were happening as I expected until one little girl grinned when I called on her.
“Rob it!” Her response drew laughter from everyone, including me.
Junior Achievement gave me a program to follow, but my favorite part of the whole experience came from a project I created. As we were discussing entrepreneurs, I asked them to write a short paper on someone who had started a business. I explained that I’d be able to tell a lot about them by who they chose to write about, the words they used and how they told their story. In essence, I could discover their “voice” as writers.
I’m proud of the effort and creativity the students exhibited in their writing. From Steve Jobs to Joe the barber, the subjects were as diverse as the children. Every paper is a gem that shows me something about each child. I didn’t get to know the students well, but I’m keeping these papers as a reminder of them, along with the large ceramic piggy bank they gave to me as a going away present.