Monday, August 29, 2016
Imagine this: Professor walks into Business Associations class Monday morning at 8:00 am having prepared to cover 14 pages of reading when she assigned only three (intending, when creating the syllabus, as she later recalled, to use the time to summarize, contrast, and compare agency law rules that will again come into play in partnership and other entity law--and to catch up, if need be). OK. The professor is me. First lesson (which I thought I had learned many moons ago): always double-check the syllabus on what you've assigned.
So, what happened in class? Well, the students didn't let on that the outline for the class plan that I scripted out on the whiteboard seemed to go beyond the reading. But they might not have recognized that, since it was only an outline. However, once I started covering the unassigned material, someone did alert me to my error. Shocked (!), I told them that I had been too nice (weak response) and that--obviously--I had not checked the syllabus to confirm the day's reading assignment before scripting out the class plan and preparing for class.
I didn't then let the students go after learning of the mistake (having covered in summary fashion those three pages in about 15 minutes of class time). Instead, I constructed a hypothetical set of facts relating to a business conducted as a sole proprietorship from the facts of the partnership case on the syllabus for Wednesday (which I had prepared to cover for today) and asked the students to analyze contract and tort liability based on the hypothetical using the agency law rules we covered over the past four classes. Detriment: people weren't prepared for this based on the prompts in the syllabus for today's class, and it took a while (and a board diagram) to establish the facts of the hypothetical with some (albeit far-from-perfect) clarity. Benefit: many students learned that they don't yet know/understand agency law, and I got the opportunity to give the students a few pointers on how partnership law will be different from agency law.
Did I make the right choice? I am following up with a post on the course TWEN site to capture the agency law rules we covered in class (to which the students did not have many salient citations). What else can I do to take this lemon and turn it into lemonade? All suggestions are welcomed.