Today is the second day of the new Spring semester, and the first day of Constitutional Law I (aka conlaw), my only first year class. It meets at my favorite time: 11! It's in my favorite room: the Foley & Lardner room (aka the trial courtroom). Why is the trial courtroom your favorite room? Because the part of it where the class sits is backed by a wide and tall set of windows that look right out onto Bascom Hill, the beautiful heart of the UW campus. The students have a lot of light coming in over their shoulders (possibly bad for looking at computer screens) and the teacher has a great view. There is also an immense white board that rolls out and divides the class seating area from the courtroom setup, and you have to have experience with various sized whiteboard/blackboard arrangments to know how nice is it to have a truly huge whiteboard. You never run out of space, and you can write so much more freely with marker on whiteboard than with chalk on blackboard. I'm telling you, the different level of friction is genuinely liberating. Sometimes one gets carried away talking without writing, and, with a blackboard, it seems so hard to stop and pick up the chalk and grind some calcium into the slate. But with whiteboard and juicy marker, it's not hard at all to illustrate a lecture with lines and loops and arrows?
So, yes, I'm happy with the room. It will be packed to capacity: I resisted a proposal to move us a larger but lesser room as the class size edged up in the last few days. There will be overflow tables. But surely the overflow few students (five, I think) will flow out of the class after the first day or two, perhaps when they learn I give a closed-book exam. I won't do a seating chart on the first day, so there's no need to worry about getting your favorite seat today. I want to let the enrollment settle down. There are other first year conlaw classes to switch to and other second semester electives to put off conlaw altogether, which might be a very good idea. (I'll probably do a summer conlaw1 course, and that's a good option for conlaw.) I'm sure the 1Ls will compare notes and try to make some good decisions about what will really be best for them after everyone's had a taste of the first year electives.
Is Professor Althouse like her blog? What do you think, dear reader?
Not having had a first year class last semester, I look forward to meeting some of the 1Ls, even if they are all jaded and broken in. After one semester of law school and one run in with law school exams and grades, the real IL feeling is gone. They're all 2L now. Grades? Mentioning grades draws attention to the fact that I have not finished my grading. Today is not just day two of the semester, it is the day grades are due. I'm well aware of that!