Thursday, March 12, 2020

Some Thoughts on Law School & COVID-19

I brought my dog Maisey to school today.  I know.  That's not allowed. But sometimes rules are meant to be broken.  I think today was that sort of day.

Today was my final in-person class, at least for several weeks due to COVID-19.  And, because I had so many students prior to class email me that they were not going to make it to class because of COVID-19, I just had to act for those who came.  And for me too, because I was feeling stressed too.  So I did.  I brought Maisey with me to her first law school class ever!

As I walked towards the school, I sort of felt like I had to sneak her in.  But there's no sneaking around when it comes to a large, tail-waving dog.  I was caught right away, and, to my surprise, with smiles everywhere we went. We still hid for a few minutes in my office until it was time for class.  But then we walked into the classroom, in stride together, for Maisey's first college class ever.  Oh the joy, when my students saw Maisey.  The class lit up.

Here's what I learned from today's experience:  

In moments like these, with more than 100 law schools switching to online learning midstream due to COVID-19, the most important things I can do for my students is to care with them, to show them that we will work through this together, to let them know that I will listen to them and learn with them as we move into online teaching, and to acknowledge that I am going to make mistakes along the way (but that's okay because, after all, it's in our mistakes in which the most important lessons are often learned).

After class, I had more students than usual stay talk, to share, and to listen together.  Maisey, on the other hand, just sat quietly on the classroom floor next to us - patient and happy just to be with us.  

As many of us transition into online learning for the remainder of the term, take time to listen to your students, to talk with your colleagues, and to share your worries and concerns because law school is more than just a school; it's a community.  It's our students' community.  And, it's the community in which we are privileged to share in too.  (Scott Johns).

P.S. Here's Maisey in her studious mode on her first day in college (but mostly she slept soundly!).

Maisey Attends Class

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