Feature a Teacher: Eric Swansburg

Name: Eric Swansburg ( email )

School: King Philip Regional High School, Wrentham, MA

Job Title: Business Teacher

Grade Levels: high school

Courses Taught: Accounting, Business Management

Why and/or how did you become a business educator?

I worked in the healthcare and financial services industries for 25 years in a variety of roles, mainly selling and servicing. In 2008 the bottom fell out of financial services. I decided it was time for a change. My plan was to apply what I learned working outside of education once I got into education. I completed the required MTEL tests, obtained licenses then sought any opportunities I could working in schools. Fortunately, I was in the right place at the right time at King Philip, things have worked out. The field of education faces challenges like any industry however the opportunity to get to know and work with kids brings value and satisfaction beyond any job! Zero regrets!

What is something unique that you do in your classroom?

Annually all classes compete in an Excel-based accounting simulation project called the “Franchise Project.” Students hypothetically become “owners” of an NFL Franchise, receive “seed money” to establish the “franchise” then track weekly team progress based on wins, losses and ties. Students construct journals, T accounts, ledgers and Trial Balances using Excel. Each class section has “regular season” then “Super Bowl” champion franchises. We chronicle the annual “winners” on the wall in the classroom to maintain the history of the project. This project uses “pop culture” (football) to engage students and teach accounting basics. Students love this project. The opportunity to participate in Franchise Project keeps students coming back!

What are you passionate about in business education?

The chance to work with and positively influence high school students. The chance to share what I learned working 2+ decades outside education. I effort to bring the “real world” into the classroom whenever possible leveraging valuable resources that surround me – parents business owners who have cool or related jobs, business professionals in the local community, college friends & acquaintances who have achieved success, education industry resources and now classroom alumni with experience beyond the walls of KP!

What are your top “tried and true” business education resources?

  • The accounting curriculum I teach is under review. I am attempting to blend the “old” (“green book” & Aplia) with the “new” from the Accounting Pilot & Bridge Project course I completed this past August. The book for APBP course is Introduction to Accounting versions 6 & 7e, Ainsworth & Deines (McGraw Hill). With technology replacing many traditional work functions curriculum emphasis at all levels is on the development of “higher order” versus “lower order” skills traditionally emphasized in high school accounting courses.
  • We use Yahoo finance daily to share non-proprietary information with customers in the mutual fund industry. This year to develop higher order thinking we have been analyzing financial statements. Yahoo finance is a great site to use for gathering investor data & comparing financial ratio’s to assist with “informed” decision making.
If you could create your dream business education course, what would it be?

Any course where students have an opportunity to pursue externship or internship at an employer, possibly of their choosing, is always good. Schools that offer outside opportunities, especially for seniors, have an impactful course within their curriculum. Young people engage and learn best outside classroom walls. High school students with jobs grow up quick, learn responsibility and often relate what we discuss in business class to their retail or restaurant service job or working for a small employer part-time. Make students become ACCOUNTABLE real world workers asap then watch em grow up!

Tell us something about you that we wouldn’t learn from your resume.

Outside of school, I officiate basketball. Officiating and teaching blend together well. There is a ton of basketball officiating work at all levels, nearly year round. In addition to being a source of income, officiating is your own business, you determine your schedule. Also tremendous networking with fellow officials, coaches, players, league administrators & parents. Officiating keeps me active.  I work nearly 250 games per year. Officiating offers the opportunity to remain connected to students during the summer working summer leagues. I am fortunate, I enjoy officiating . . . like teaching, you are constantly learning and officiating brings great stories too!

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