First Days of School

Yesterday was my first day of teaching for the new semester. Unlike last semester, I have the exact 45 registered students and a good mix of men and women. They are all second-year undergraduates majoring in law. I had them all introduce themselves the first class, and I was struck by how much better informed I am about Chinese geography. My students seemed to appreciated that I had traveled to a number of their hometowns, notably Shantou and Chaozhou. As expected, there English skills are excellent (perhaps even better than last semester since many students attempted to pronounce “Czarnezki”), and I have a much better classroom size this semester (not too big) which should facilitate class discussion. I was also surprised by how often I spoke Chinese in class, which I think led students to believe I’d be equally comfortable using their Chinese names rather than English names which most Chinese students make up. In fact, unlike last semester, hardly any of my students wrote down English names on the sign-in sheet passed out at the end of class.

I plan to spend the first two classes introducing the United States (geography, demographics, etc.) and having them discussing (1) What is law?, (2) What law can be accepted as legitimate?, and (3) is law important?. We will also discuss “Rule of Law” versus “Rule by Man,” before, in the following weeks, moving to the development of American Law, the structure of American government, and the U.S. Constitution.

A final note: I’m very proud of both of my daughters who today together went to Chinese Kindergarten. Amazing!

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