Tuesday, November 22, 2011


The Law School Fall Semester is drawing to a close. After the holidays, the final semester (for most) coincides with Bar Exam preparation and it's crunch time. I choose this chapter of matriculation to reflect my personal sentiments regarding the students in my class. My predicate are the vibes I picked up on day one, which have consistently graphed upwards, reflecting steadily increasing enthusiasm for the curriculum.

My students, using that phrase for descriptive purposes, are terrific. They are attentive, diligent and thirst for knowledge. And, very importantly, they are surprised by the opportunity and, indeed, welcome the invitation to laugh while they learn. These two philosophies are neither inconsistent nor inappropriate. On the contrary, they can be mutually reinforcing if presented in an harmonious mix. Consider, they are both natural instincts, on the plus side of life. The immersing of positive moods is consistent, in a not-so-strange way, with the splitting of an atom. Don't laugh--I mean laugh all you want--it's good for you. I've tested this notion in a variety of seemingly uninviting circumstances: a pressure-packed jury trial, as a Judge presiding over a crowded courtroom, and, yes in a classroom. The essential elements are the ability to make people smile, coupled with proper taste. It's a dynamic duo and one which I have found promotes an atmosphere most conducive to a desire to listen and remember. And it ain't all that common. Hooray for mavericks. Whatever the task, if you enjoy doing it, you'll do it well. A happy job is not synonymous with work.

Thus, I have intentionally strayed from the norm. I try to teach and simultaneously entertain, and unless I'm being misled, it works. And if the students enjoy class, then I do, all the more. Humor is a most effective tool, even in academia. Pressure and stress shall never know famine. Let's row against that tide, shall we?

Which brings me back to gratitude. Which is what I owe my students. Causing them to laugh while contributing to their education, is is a maximum turn-on for which I owe them big time. Their faces say it all and every semester brings a repeat. They enjoy our time together and their education is furthered. I thank them.

Is it any wonder that I whistle to and from the Law School?

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