Teacher Spotlight



Natalie Smith was awarded First Place in the Entrepreneurship category, high school division at the 2016 Governor’s Award Program For Excellence in Teaching Economics, for her project: Entrepreneurship: “Be Your Own Boss”. Her project was chosen for its creativity and exciting approach to teaching entrepreneurship and business creation to her hospital-homebound high school students in a fun hands-on format. Natalie’s lesson provided students with a chance to think about their future in a whole new way. Students had the opportunity to create something new, either an initiative, a business, or a company for a week during the school year. To see Natalie’s winning project application, click below.

PROJECT APPLICATION: Entrepreneurship: “Be Your Own Boss”

School: St. Lucie County Schools

School District: St. Lucie County

Subject: ESE Hospital Homebound

Grade Level: K-12

Number of Years Teaching: 25

When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
When I was in the fourth grade. I used to go home daily and line my baby dolls, and Barbie’s up and teach them what I learned that day in school.

If you weren’t teaching what would you do?
If I wasn’t teaching I would probably travel the world learning the different country’s ways of life, and their culture. I enjoy learning from others.

What’s your favorite topic to teach?
I enjoy anything in the History family such as African American History, International History, and Economics.

What’s the hardest topic to teach?
I would have to say Physics it’s like looking at a different language.

Why do you think Economics and Personal Finance are important to learn?
Economics and Personal Finance are important to learn because we live in a real world. Economics and personal finance are important to learn because they go hand in hand. Every day we make choices. We ask ourselves questions such as; should I treat myself today for lunch, and if I do how much should I spend. Or should I just pack my lunch in order to financially budget my money. With personal finance people are able to budget, save, and spend monetary resources over time. When planning personal finances, the spender/consumer would be able to consider the suitability to his or her needs of a checking, saving account, credit card, and maybe even a loan. This is why it’s so important to learn economics and personal finance.

How has the FCEE impacted your teaching?
FCEE has impacted my teaching by offering different workshops to reach the students of today. I’m a firm believer if we can reach the student we can teach the student. Each child learns different and it’s up to the teacher to find out how they learn. FCEE has given me the opportunity to do that by starting a weekend economic club to reach students who want to learn more about economic while preparing them for their future goals.

What’s your favorite FCEE resource or program?
One of my favorite FCEE resources is We the Economy, it’s a fun and cute way to learn economic through film. But my most favorite is Rockonomix. After working with some student with Rockonomix this fall, I found out student really do learn better when it’s not just pencil and paper. Rockonomix builds up their learning through singing, and dancing.

What advice would you give to a first-year economics or personal finance teacher?
The advice I would give a first year economics or personal finance teacher is that economic is all around us every day. I would inform them to put the pencil and paper down and step out of the box to see what around us. Whether it’s a student shopping for the right prom dress or their first car (price), or whether you’re opening your first bank or checking account (economic), or whether you want.

What do you like to do for fun outside of school?
I enjoy traveling outside of school for fun.

What’s one thing your students may not know about you?
One thing students may not know about me is, when I first went to college my major was Math. After the third quarter of college I was so tired of homework everyday and I decided to change my major to Recreation and minor in Math.