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Teacher’s unique way to instruct about money — she charges students rent for desks: ‘Great idea’

Shelby Lattimore, a third-grade teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, is teaching her students money management by charging them rent for their desks and late fees for tardiness.
Shelby Lattimore, a third-grade teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, is teaching her students financial literacy by charging them rent for their desks and late fees for tardiness.

She’s running a monopoly.

Shelby Lattimore, a third-grade teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, is teaching her students financial literacy by charging them rent for their desks and late fees for tardiness.

“I don’t care how you pay it … what bills you give me … what it is or if it’s got sticky boogers on it. You’re paying me $5,” Lattimore says in a TikTok from October with 9.3 million views.

In the 2-minute, 30-second clip, the teacher notifies her students that she’s “going to take your money” because it’s “bills” day — they immediately react with disgruntled “noos!”

Luckily, the students don’t have to pay their bills in real cash or ask their parents for a loan.

Shelby Lattimore, a third-grade teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, is teaching her students financial literacy by charging them rent for their desks and late fees for tardiness. Shelby Lattimore Tik Tok
Shelby Lattimore, a third-grade teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, is teaching her students financial literacy by charging them rent for their desks and late fees for tardiness. Shelby Lattimore Tik Tok

They have to fork over “play dollars” they’ve earned throughout the school year doing classroom jobs such as being a line leader, door holder, teacher helper, board eraser or table washer.

“I teach them the responsibility of handling money that they earn through their class jobs,” Lattimore explains on TikTok.

The Post reached out to Lattimore for comment.

Every other Friday, each student receives a “paycheck” from their teacher for their work and errands.

Aside from paying rent, students are allowed to spend money on frivolous things in the classroom store, such as an eat-in-class pass, homework pass or being teacher for the day.

On the first of the month, Lattimore proceeds to call each student by their designated number, and if the student isn’t paying attention when their bill collector calls them, it results in a $1 late fee.

Some students asked for clarification on what they could be fined for — Lattimore lists various reasons such as turning in work late, breaking things, showing disrespect and being tardy.

In the viral video, Lattimore counts each student’s dollar bills to make sure nothing is missing. Until one student declares, “I don’t [have] $5.”

Lattimore lets her students earn fake money by completing classroom jobs. When the end of the month comes around, each student has to prepare to pay their bills. Shelby Lattimore Tik Tok
Lattimore lets her students earn fake money by completing classroom jobs. When the end of the month comes around, each student has to prepare to pay their bills. Shelby Lattimore Tik Tok

To her surprise, the young man had over $25 in his bank but just didn’t want to pay his bill. The teacher helps him understand that he can break the larger bills and request change back.

“If you give me the $10, then what do you [get] back?” Lattimore asks.

“$5,” he responds, then switches his tone. “Gimme my $5.”

Another student also resisted paying their bill, which the teacher warned could lead to “eviction” from their desk if no payment was made.

The child walks up and hands over her cash while lamenting, “Now I have $0.”

Once all the bills are paid, the students call their teacher “mean” after she gloats about the money she has collected. Lattimore responds, “Hard life lessons of third grade.”

The North Carolina teacher aspires to teach her students to be aware of their finances since most of them come from families who live “check to check.” Shelby Lattimore Instagram
The North Carolina teacher aspires to teach her students to be aware of their finances since most of them come from families who live “check to check.” Shelby Lattimore Instagram

In a follow-up video, she explains, “A lot of my kids come from families that live check to check and are not in the best financial situation, so I don’t think they’re too young to ever learn how to handle money, how to use money, and how they want to use their money.”

Many TikTokers praised Lattimore’s approach to teaching and bringing financial awareness to children.

“This is a great idea! I have been saying for years this was needed in our schools,” one person commented. “When my children were young, this was how they earned their allowance.”

“I wished my children had you as 3rd grade teacher!!! You are awesome!!” praised another.

“Now this is teaching preparing them for the next level,” applauded a parent.