Fly on the Wall: Esteban

By: Adam Sutton

“Alright, you’ve had a few minutes to determine the size of this firm’s profits.  Who thinks they can explain it to the class?” Mr. Fulton asked.

Esteban doesn’t raise his hand.  He just starts walking to the board at the front of the room.  It’s his habit in situations like this, and he doesn’t pause for pleasantries once he is at the front.  “Mr. Fulton told us this is profit max firm.  That means MR equals MC.  Here.  Go down.  Get quantity.  Whatever MR is, that’s price.  Price time quantity is revenue.  Done.  Next.  Costs.  Same quantity.  Always.  Find the Average Total Cost curve.  ATC times quantity.  Costs.  Revenue minus costs.  18.  Profits 18.  You see.  Simple, no?  Questions?”  The class stares blankly at Esteban, unsure whether a question is going to help their self-esteem or hurt it. 


“Esteban, what do you do after school?” Mr. Fulton asked as Esteban had come to eat lunch in his room. 

“Well, right after, I do homework.  Then, I nap.  I work nighttime.  My family owns a store in the city.  I work late late.  After nap, I work.  If homework not done, I bring it with me.  Sometimes overnight is slow.  I do homework.  I get home 3 or 4, sleep a little.  Back to school.”


The PA crackled as it had for the last week and a half, “Would the following students report to the cafeteria for English testing: Marcus Smith, Mindy Solomon, Frank Spriggs, Juan Stanford…”  The list was endless.  It took nearly 5 minutes to read.

Some one lamented, “It might be faster to tell us who isn’t testing today.” 

As the announcement ended, Esteban piped up, “Mr. Fulton.  I no understand.  My family.  We speak 4 language.  English my 4th.  Born in Brazil.  Learn Portuguese.  Move to Venezuela.  Learn Spanish.  Live in Quebec.  Know French.  Here in America.  Speak English.  How these students not pass test?” he says indignantly, waving his finger towards the door where students are trudging by headed to the library.  “I take English.  One time.  Listen to teacher.  Study.  Take test.  Do my best.  Pass.  One time.  These students 1 language.  Simple, no?”     

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