Latte factor: the total cost of your regular, nonessential spending to show how much you could be saving each year. “Look at all that money!” A student gasped, staring at her calculator in disbelief. Sure enough, that burst of excitement flagged the attention of several other students. “Money?” “What money?” “Whose money?” “Where did it all come from?” As a crowd formed around the calculator, questions flooded my classroom after school, and a story was born.
Last week, one of the students in our writing club came to me with the idea of writing about all the things her one friend could do with her money if she didn’t buy Starbucks every morning. Before I could stop myself, my eyes lit up and the words “latte factor” barreled out my mouth. It was a stupendous moment. Staying after school of her own free will, this student had been reflective and inquisitive enough to stumble upon an idea that not nearly enough grown-ups–nevermind young people–consider, an idea that could have immediate and long-term implications for her and for her friends. It was the closest to teacher nirvana I have ever come. Continue reading “A Lesson in Latte Factors, or Reaching Teacher Nirvana”