Friday, February 17, 2012

Good Student

There is a student in my intro Econ class who really loves the class and my teaching style. His family includes bankers and finance professionals, so he is glad that he is learning enough to be a part of their conversation. He really likes the way that Economics uses math to address social issues, and the course has already changed his mind on the minimum wage and drug laws.

He is a senior, finishing up a mechanical engineering degree. He is doing a co-op with a power utility, and is on the management track. He came to my office yesterday and we had a nice long chat. I learned a lot of interesting things about our electric grid and the contracting arrangements between the different companies and organizations that make everything work well. I used my knowledge of the Coase Theorem to make a guess about arrangements for power line maintenance that was so accurate that it literally stunned him speechless.

Before coming here, he got a 2-year degree in some kind of engineering, and spent a summer working at a co-op in Belgium working with the dikes and water transport systems. Before that, he was a junior manager at a contact lens plant. He is very good at math, has excellent people skills, and has a great curiosity and love of learning, but is a bit disorganized and messy. Overall, he is the kind of student that every teacher dreams of having.

If you have not done so already, form a mental picture of this guy in your head.

He is a big black guy with a backwards baseball cap and diamond stud earrings.

Every year, I seem to have at least one guy that matches that description, who is a good and inquisitive student who likes learning what Economics teaches about the world. I tend to connect well with them, and with older and non-traditional students, and anyone who wants to learn.

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