My First Class: Reflections

on Dec 10, 2018 by Michael Rupured

The final exam included three extra credit questions. I asked about behavior changes because of the class, the impact the class will likely have on the future, and the most beneficial topics. As there are no right or wrong answers, the score was based on how 

The first class I’ve taught in 30  years is over. The final exam was last week. After several days of grading, the verdict is in. Despite my tough exams, better than half the class got an A or B in the course.

Consumers in Society touches on the wide variety of spending decisions made over the course of a lifetime. It’s stuff nobody tells you about being a wise consumer that everyone should know. For extra credit, I asked if they were doing anything different because of what they’d learned.    

I’m so glad I asked! Admittedly, some students may have embellished, exaggerated, or lied — my B.S. detector went off more than once. Most responses, however, came across as sincere.

Many commented on the practicallity of the lectures. All pay more attention to their spending decisions.  Most said they eat out less, spend less on wants (vs. needs), were more likely to comparision shop, and less likely to buy things on impulse. 

Grocery-shopping habits changed the most. Several talked about how much they’d saved by switching to store brands, comparing unit prices (which few were aware of before the class), and shopping with a list. 

I also asked which topics were most beneficial. Two lectures about credit, credit reports, and credit scores were mentioned by nearly all as extremely helpful. No surprise there.

Lectures about advertising, fraud, and food issues made the “most beneficial topic” list surprisingly often. A step-by-step decision-making process and a detailed method for comparision shopping were also popular. 

Most surprising were numerous comments related to fear, terror and anxiety about mortgages, insurance, and investing. Many had equated investing with buying lottery tickets. The brief overview eased those fears and increased confidence in the ability to make wise decisions in the future. 

Hallelujah!

Teaching has been a learning experience for me too. Next time, I’ll do things a little differently No more trying to cover the text from cover to cover. The feedback gives me a better idea about what is (and isn’t) beneficial.

Course evaluations won’t be available until early next year. Hopefully, they didn’t rip me a new one. Feedback is always appreciated — especially when it’s a little hard to take. We shall see soon enough.