How Much Heart Do You Have? The Professor’s Trick Question…

The Professor's Trick Question: A telling anecdote about a trick question at the end of a final exam, granting a the test's most important lesson...

I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university. ~ Einstein Click To Tweet

During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and breezed through the questions, until I read the last one:

“What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke– the professor’s trick question, just for fun. I’d seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name?

I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, another student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello”.

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

Source: A popular internet anecdote, often included in a list of other such stories, attributed to Joanne C. Jones.