Monday, June 23, 2008

How Not to Get an Education

A student came in a few days before the final for help. She asked about a concept in the first chapter that was going to be covered on the test. I explained. She asked about a word in my explanation.

The word she asked about was "input." Inputs are the resources used in production to produce output. In pizza production, inputs are cheese, pepperoni, electricity, ovens, labor, etc. I probably used the word 1,000 times. Apparently she did not understand any of it.

I said, "When you hear a word that you do not know you should ask."

She said, "I am too scared to ask."

I said, "Then you will suffer, because you will miss so much of your education. And in the job market, it will be hard to compete if you are too shy to ask for the information you need. You have to overcome this."

She said she accepted that. I told her to at least ask the professor after class or during office hours.

It hurts to see a student underperform so badly because of fear. Since I give out Snickers bars--the normal size, not minis--to encourage participation, call on students to keep the discussion going, and constantly ask if there are questions, I cannot understand why someone would think that I would mind if someone asked a question.

Sitting and failing is such a waste. And waste is the worst sin in economics.

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