June 3, 2008
Bar Exam Teacher Skill Set
Now is the time we in ASP turn our focus from student concerns to graduate concerns, more specifically, concerns about the bar exam. I know some within the ASP community focus on the bar all year long, but for those of us who see both students and bar takers, this is the time of year we trade our academic success hats for bar prep hats.
While there is some overlap between the areas of bar prep and ASP, they really require different skill sets. I think of it like very accelerated primary schooling; the 1L's are still my children, and I watch over them like a mama hawk. 1L's are still excited by the thought of law school and want to do what it takes to succeed. By the time they reach bar prep, I feel a bit like the parent of a teenager; it's as much about "you shall not" as it is "you shall", and I spend a lot of my time reigning in their bad habits and tempering inappropriate impulses.
As a former elementary school teacher, I am far more skilled being a mama hawk watching out for my young ones than I am disciplining the rowdy herds. I want to see all of my students reach their full potential, but it takes a special temperament to give tough love to graduates bent on enjoying life when they need to be buckling down for the bar exam. By the time students have reached graduation, they have bought into the myth that substances, Red Bull, Jolt!, or less legal poisons, will help them retain more information. They have become tired and cranky, and ready to push back at people who push them, even if we are pushing them for their own good.
I admire those who spend the full year focused on bar takers, who can take the stress and strain and produce lawyers admitted to the bar in their chosen jurisdiction.
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