Friday, January 26, 2007

On Arrogance

We've switched our schedules a bit now that I'm working again and one of the positive externalities of the change is that I can now take Six to her piano lesson without Big in tow.

This means that I can actually (either or both) pay attention, and get a little class-prep in.

Last night I was frantically reading and comparing different intermediate microeconomic theory texts and I nursed my bruised ego after the first day's lecture which, while to my erstwhile students would have garnered concern and probably a night's worth of either hard studying or time spent considering dropping the class, to these, new students (not necessarily smarter, I've decided, but under a whole different set of institutional rules and norms including a) more rigorous 200 level economics courses and b) friends that actually study and probably pressure each other to keep up) who, it would seem, felt that the first lecture was extremely easy.

One gal who, self-reportedly tested out of the principles course (she tells me this with a little wink 'they don't like people to do that here') was a bit concerned about jumping into the intermediate course until she saw my first lecture and decided she was up for it.

As an aside: What kind of student, having had economics only in high school, is prepared for intermediate microeconomic theory?

You can imagine the shockwaves of second-guessing that were pulsing through my body that evening.

I look up at Six, during her lesson, when I hear them talking about notes and the notes per phrase in her music. The teacher mentions something about fractions to her (assuming that she has not yet learned the concept) when Six, in all of her beautiful self confidence (some might, perhaps, see it as arrogance... especially someone in a particularly insecure state of mind with regard to their intelligence) says: Oh! I know fractions! And goes on to talk about the pie, drawing it out, wasting time actually practicing the piano.

The teacher looks over her shoulder at me with surprise: Wow! I'm impressed!

Me, in my frustrated state, thinking: why is she not getting her back on course of PIANO, not MATHEMATICS: It is DESIGNED to make you feel impressed! That way she can get out of learning piano!

Let's hope that after a week or two, my students' knowledge of intermediate micro is a little like Six's knowledge of fractions: Thin.

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