Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

First day of classes!

8:30 AM: Contracts. The professor walks in, and immediately starts asking questions and calling on people off her seating chart. Question! Bam! Question! Bam! Question! Bam! She was sharp, she was really sharp. She should teach a "how to keep students awake" seminar to undergraduate professors. Because no one was even thinking about anything besides contracts in that class. It was like being on a quiz show, sort of, with 80 other people and no one knowing when it was going to be his or her turn, or what the subject of the question was going to be. So it kept everyone, uh, on our toes. But no disasters. She got to probably 60 of the 80 people in the class with at least one question or another, and everyone's so concerned they'll be called on that no one remembers at the end who gave a good answer, who gave a bad answer, who did what. It all just blends into an hour and a half long adrenaline rush.

They should conduct kindergarten the same way:

Lights up on a kindergarten classroom. Maybe a dozen students all over the floor. No teacher yet. Students are drawing with crayons, playing with toys, whatever. A teacher walks on, a little overdressed for the occasion. She puts down her briefcase and pulls out some cards with big colored shapes on it. She holds up a card with a blue triangle and points to one girl. She talks fast. the kids don't.

TEACHER: Ms. Smith, what color is this?
(No response)
TEACHER: Ms. Smith -- Sally -- what color is this?
TEACHER: Can anyone help out Ms. Smith?
(One boy raises his hand)
TEACHER: Mr. Johnson.
TEACHER: What shade of blue?
TEACHER: You said blue. I said what shade of blue?
TEACHER: Dark blue. Okay. How do we know it's dark?
(No response)
TEACHER: Ms. Rogers.
TEACHER: How do we know it's dark?
BECKY ROGERS: Dark blue?
TEACHER: Yes, Mr. Johnson said that already. It's dark blue. How do we know?
BECKY ROGERS: It looks dark.
TEACHER: It LOOKS dark. Okay. How do you know?
TEACHER: How do you know it looks dark to me? Maybe it just looks dark to you. How do you know?
BECKY ROGERS: I have to go to the bathroom.
TEACHER: How do you know?
(Billy Johnson raises his hand)
TEACHER: Mr. Johnson.
BILLY JOHNSON: It's dripping out of her skirt.
TEACHER: Very good. A fact. Urine is dripping out of Ms. Rogers' skirt. OBjective, not SUBjective. Now what if it wasn't urine? What if it was realy apple juice? Mr. Sanchez?
JOEY SANCHEZ: People don't pee apple juice.
TEACHER: People don't pee apple juice. All people?
TEACHER: What about people you haven't met yet? How do you know they don't pee apple juice? What if some people did pee apple juice?
JOEY SANCHEZ: Then they could go where people are starving and give them something to drink.
TEACHER: Interesting. Now we're moving towards policy. From facts to policy. Very nice, Mr. Sanchez. But back to the issue at hand. Before Ms. Rogers peed on the floor, she said she knew this was dark blue because she saw it. Is that compelling evidence? What do you think, Ms. Jackson?
(SARA JACKSON shrugs her shoulders.)
TEACHER: Use your words, Ms. Jackson. Think back to the reading last night. Is that compelling evidence?
SARA JACKSON: See Spot run?
TEACHER: No, we'll get to The State v. Spot in tomorrow's class. Today we're focusing on the dark blue triangle. Anyone know how we can prove this triangle is really the color that Mr. Johnson and Ms. Rogers are insisting it is? Mr. Phillips, if you could put the dump truck down for a moment and join us?
DAVEY PHILLIPS: It's dark blue because we all think it's dark blue.
TEACHER: Cultural convention. Interesting. Now who can tell me about promissory estoppel and the interstate commerce clause?
(Fade to black...)

The professor also mentioned not too many people have ever written songs about contracts. I think I'm going to take that as a challenge. Check back tomorrow for that one....