Recent Posts by Matt McGee

Upon Arrival: Advice to the HR Department

The following post has basically been brewing for a few years. It is largely based on observation and the concomitant whinging over drinks with the other expat teachers. My wife Bell, no-nonsense Aussie with a very sharp eye and tongue, is the primary reason I thought I'd spend a few hundred words putting down some avuncular advice for HR departments in international schools. I'm sure you, my colleagues, have a few acid comments and terse observations to share and I ...

It Is What It Is!

I want to tell you a story about a most remarkable man, Bo Frolchenko. There will be scant links to economics but read it anyhow. It's a story about hard work, intent of purpose, success, honour, and love. Bo is one of my best friends and his life can indeed teach us something. He was born in 1947 and spent his tender first years in a German refugee camp. You guessed it; life was not a rose bed. He and his family ...

Core concepts/principles

This post is primarily aimed at the IB1 crowd. Right about now you should be well along your Frustration Curve - it looks something like this over the first year:   Should be fairly self-explanatory but maybe a few words about where you are heading. Your first tests should be reasonably straightforward - let's face it, we are not rocket surgeons - and you should be able to deal with supply, demand, markets and elasticities with reasonable confidence. The initial shell-shock, and ...

Shibumi

The heading refers to my favourite author, Trevanian (Rodney Whitaker) a writer and university professor. Although he had written several novels under this pseudonym and other books under other pseudonyms. (He took great pains to remain anonymous, something I increasingly understand in today’s Twitterati-infested instant-information world of knee-jerk outrage and faux indignation.) It was with the publication of ‘The Eiger Sanction’ and ‘Shibumi’ that his readers clearly saw his teaching background. His scathing comments on university students include: “…ah, sociology, ...

Is anyone else alarmed?

The 'tag line' in my sent emails reads "There is nothing more economically damaging that a set of beliefs lacking any underpinning in data, empiricism or common sense - any opinion asserted without evidence can be summarily dismissed without evidence. Matt McGee, Christopher Hitchens " My wife saw this on a recent trip to Ukraine. Gotta love a country that really hasn't arrived at the Political Correctness cliff! I have long since gaped in astonishment and dismay at the recent inclusion of ...

“They’re rioting in Africa….”

I grew up in what might be termed an 'old fashioned household' - another way of saying that much of what I call my personal tastes are in fact hand-me-downs from my parents. One example is my taste in music, which ranges from Ramstein and Metallica to Judy Henske and The Kingston Trio - the latter two from the 1960's. I have just received the pack of this year's exam papers (relax, none of the content will be published anywhere on ...

Final call

Well, you have a few days left and then you will be sitting in rows of other economists, clock ticking, stern invigilator pitter-pattering about...and you have a few hours during which to prove your worth as an economist. How lucky I was to have a school system, Swedish, with no external exams! I could never have done what we now ask of you - and I have often pointed out to my students what a terrible student I myself was. ...

Did I miss a memo? Let’s keep the ‘F-word’.

FAIL (intransitive verb); to fall short, to be unsuccessful Most of the people who know me have long since realised I don't do transitional material. I'm also not great at light conversation. I've been told of my tendency to go of on a (ranting) tangent on whatever subject has prodded me with a stick. So, I hope you're ready for a little random venting of spleen here, for there is a recent societal undercurrent that is increasingly sticking in my craw, ...

Read your textbook first

It has escaped none of my students that our subject is a 'composite' subject - including (but in no ways limited to!) mathematics, history, political science, statistics and...well, stories. I always try to get across that the ability to become a good economist rests on two foundations; 1. good solid understanding of basic concepts and terms, and; 2. skills such as underpinning arguments, finding flaws with economic reasoning and simply being clear in putting forward economic scenarios both verbally and ...

Last minute…

I'm having an interesting day. One of the Picts (look this up) I customarily hang out with for after-school grap juice (fermented) apparently decided to yank me back to reality after a three-day weekend by way of a perky good morning note: Shades of Adam Smith Then it turns out (no, I don't read memos) that the IB2 crowd are off (and with any luck, home studying - god knows some of them need it) and the IB1 crowd is apparently spending ...

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