Today, Thursday, was my first class – at 8:00 a.m.! Not knowing how long it would take us to walk to the law school, and not wanting to be late my first day, we left early – 6:50 a.m. It took us about 25 minutes to get to the girls’ kindergarten (though they couldn’t go today), and another 10 minutes to the law school. The girls each carried their own backpacks with coloring stuff, snacks, and extra pants in case of squatty-potty accidents (which we didn’t need, thank goodness!).
My class is small – only 14 students! And it is shorter than I expected – less than 2 hours. The bell rings at 8 for the start of class, rings at 8:45 for break time, rings at 8:55, to start class again, and rings at 9:40 to end class. So I really think I won’t cover very much this term! All I was able to do was cover the very basics of what a constitution does – regulates the relationships between 1) the three branches of government, 2) the states and the federal government, and 3) the people and the government. The students were basically familiar with the first and third, but the concept of federalism seemed new to them. The third – essentially protection of individual liberties – was familiar to them as it pertains to the Bill of Rights. But they had a harder time with the concept of how the Constitution structurally protects individual liberties – the anti-majoritarian nature of the Constitution. A few of the students did talk, and answered very basic questions, and asked some very basic questions. One student asked a very good question about “checks and balances” (the idea that, in general, it takes two branches of government to agree before the government can act (i.e., Congress passes law, President must sign it) in relation to the Iraq war – did Congress agree with the Executive’s decision to go to war. So that was fun.
We’ll see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it, even if the students don’t get much out of it!