Wednesday, January 25, 2006

bitter, anyone?

No matter what mood I’m in, when I leave State & Local Government class I am depressed, angry, bitter and borderline suicidal.

Professor State/Local Government is a strange character. (I’ve never had him before but you might know him as Prof. Torts or Prof. Alcoholic Beverage Law). I’ve never had a professor who is so bitter, jaded and cynical. (Some people who know me might use those adjectives to describe me but I’m not bitter at all and compared with this professor, I’m a ray of sunshine.)

Among the gems he gave us today:
Law students at this school are lazy
Law students at this school (but not at other schools) just don’t get it.
Law professors at this school are treated poorly.
Few of the 25 or so people in the class will ever be a senior partner in a law firm.
Most people in this country are cheap and stupid.
No two ducks look alike, which is why in some famous guide to birds, they use an artist’s drawing of a duck rather than pictures. (huh?)

I don’t know what to make of this guy. I’m not ready to say yet whether he’s a bad professor or a good professor. I’ll tell you at the end of the semester when I see if I’ve learned anything. He’s not the type of prof who calls on you and asks for facts and holdings, which is good since we’re not 1Ls anymore. Neither is he the type of prof that gives you the rule when no one speaks up.

In a sense, he’s the ideal law professor because he challenges students to think and piece together each case with the previous cases and in context with all the material – from the class, from previous classes and from life in general. That’s what you want in a law professor, right? Someone who, instead of teaching you the blackletter law, teaches you how to use the material in the real world.

I guess his bitter, jaded and cynical mood is not a gimmick; it’s his personality. No one should be forced to act like someone they aren’t, but it would be nice if he was just a little less bitter, jaded and cynical. But on the other hand, it would seem like he could at least adopt a slightly less negative stance toward everything – his bitterness is not helping me to learn the material. If anything, it’s counterproductive because sometimes I’m amazed at what he says and I have a hard time respecting someone who does his best to destroy whatever level of self-confidence or self-respect I have. And maybe it’s just me, but I think there’s something to the concept of treating students with at least a little bit of respect (not that he humiliates students like some profs – I’m talking about the insults and derogatory remarks) that makes everyone’s life a little more pleasant.

I seriously contemplated dropping the course but I find the material to be interesting so I didn’t. So now in every class I have to wage war with myself in every class not to get mired in the black cloud that permanently follows this guy around…


At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had this guy for Torts last year, and I'm still not sure what to think of him! He is definitely unique. More than you wanted to know -

He's got tons of degrees from amazing places.
He's paranoid, and it rubs off.
Susie McGillicutty always ends up dead.
He's good friends with Irwin.
Hates all doctors, except his sister.
Quotes Durkheim, alludes to Sartre.
He left the state when hurricanes came.
He knows what's in your food!
He'll tell you even if you don't want to know.
He's very aware of his rights.
Earns a "piddling" six-figure salary :)
Some students really don't like him.
He's alot smarter than me, I admit.
Remembers classmate Steve Emanuel as a C-student.
He really hates grading exams.

And then there's the story about grading exams by tossing them down stairs - the ones that land furthest down get an A. Alternative method: everytime you grade a poorly written exam, drink a beer. I don't know if he was joking! People! Don't laugh, you'll just encourage him! Even though he gave me my lowest grade in law school, I always thought he was interesting to listen to - just because he was so unusual. If it wasn't for that grade, I certainly would have signed up for State/Local Gov't. Instead, I signed up for Evidence with Prof CrimPro - who I really ended up liking in the end (despite the desk jumping).

At 8:45 PM, Blogger Bricklayer said...

I'm trying to figure out if your attack on a professor is a brilliant ploy to get an A from him, or if you're doomed to be blacklisted when they circle the wagons.

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That from someone who never, ever, attacks profs?

At 2:31 PM, Blogger some guy said...

Bricklayer, I never claim to really know what I'm doing. But I said 'in some ways he's the ideal law professor' and I didn't say I dislike him or that he's a bad professor. Anyway, he told us that "technologically I'm still in about 1976" so who knows if he'll read this...

At 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And people have different opinions - just check out the variability on ratemyprofessor


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