Teacher Spotlight — Accounting Teacher Laura Abel

Laura Abel, an accounting teacher in Kingwood, TX, has taught Budget Challenge in her classroom since 2015. We reached out to her to gain insight into how Budget Challenge is used to teach Personal Finance in her class. Here’s what she had to say.

I have been teaching accounting for 22 years. I have been teaching 9 years at Kingwood High School in Kingwood, TX. Kingwood is a campus full of students pushing themselves and each other to achieve their goals.

I have been using Budget Challenge with 10 – 12th-grade students for ten years in my Accounting I, and Accounting II classes as well as my Securities & Investment class. I love that the simulation doesn't stop for school breaks. Just as life does not stop for vacations. Bills are due when they are due.

A bonus is the Cash Flow Budgeting Tool. It gives the students a tool to control their money, make a plan, and execute that plan.

I am relatively new to +Investing so that is a bit challenging, but the kids really like it. The real-life aspect of unexpected events helps students to think out of the box on how to manage unexpected events.

I recommend that new Teachers just do it! Commit the time to set it up and give the students time to process what is happening before the start of the simulation.

One year, I was I was explaining what Budget Challenge was all about to a class that was about to start their game. One of the students said, "Oh that is what those other kids were doing last year!" I asked him what he was talking about and he said he was at a party over spring break and all of a sudden one kid said "Shoot I forgot to pay my bills!" And then a few other kids at the party said "Oh man I forgot too!" They all scurried off to a corner and were on their phones frantically paying bills on their phone.