Monday, August 25, 2008

The Most Important Day of Class

Last week was my first week of classes for the 2008-2009 academic year, and I was all ready to write a post called "The Most Important Day of Class." The whole premise was that the first day of class is the most important day of class for the whole term. But I didn't write that post, because I decided I was wrong.

The first day of class is not the most important day of class. The second day is.

Here's what I mean. The first day is important, because on that day the prof is likely to explain what the course is intended to be like. You're also likely to be treated to a lecture on why the course is the most important course you will ever take in law school, and perhaps your whole life. I'm exaggerating, but not overly so. This is called selling the course--and it happens not only in electives, but also in mandatory courses. I certainly do it. I think it helps students see where the course fits in the grand scheme of things, and it gives them a sense of what I think of the subject and why I am teaching it. And I do hope it generates a little excitement to get us all through the drier parts of the course. (And if you are in law school, you know some of it is dry.)

But that first class is often an anomoly. It's on the second day that students are more likely to get their first glimpse of a more average class--no calling of the roll, no grand views of the law. Instead, it's on to theory, doctrine, and the briefing of cases.

So for those of you in law school, pay close attention in those early days. And mark your calendars for class #2.

9 comments:

Custom said...

Hello Sir,

I´ve been reading your blog for some time and the more I do, the more I find it interesting and useful. As a loyal reader, I will take the liberty of asking for a favor / giving a sugestion: It would be really nice if you could give some tips for international students intending to go on to a LLM in the US. I noticed you wrote about LLMs already, but perhaps you could give us some directed advice on how to prepare, what kind of experience counts the most, how scholarships are granted and what you have to do to get one..
I´m a fan of you and your blog, and a LLM in Northwestern is the first thing I think about in the morning, and the last I think about before I go to bed.
Kind regards from Brazil,

Pedro Henrique
pedrohfpinheiro@yahoo.com.br

James said...

thanks for the information you provided.

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Anonymous said...

For me, a law student, you offer an interesting perspective. just got my first semester grades back, and they were devastating. And by devastating, I don't mean a couple of Bs and Cs. I didn't make any Fs, but... Any advice to make me feel better? to improve? Any reason I shouldn't quit? sheesh.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed reading your posts but haven't seen anything lately...

aglu said...

The first day very important. It defines yours дольнейшее the attitude to study.
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Allen said...

Hi
thank you for sharing your experience with us.according to me everyday of class is very important.I enjoy my college life very much.

Padmanaban said...

This topic brings feelings of my college days back. But at those days i took it as a joy of attending the first day class. Now i can feel how important it is.
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