Saturday, December 11, 2004

Doctor Doug, indahouse
(or “a prequel of sorts”)

So, I’ve been teaching this winter school. Four hour-and-a-half classes with five late high-school students from Singapore and Malaysia, in which I planned to cover an introduction to the idea of rules and then international law, the UN Security Council, the International Criminal Court and the World Trade Organisation.

Most lawyers I spoke to said: “Wow, that’s ambitious.”

Most other grad students I spoke to said: “Wow, that sounds interesting. Can I come?”

Both have made jokes about this being the first appearence of "Doctor" Doug, my future lecturer-self.

Four classes over three days has been tiring (and the preparation was very time consuming), but it's been amazingly rewarding. I prepared about 35 pages of notes and materials in two bundles. The kids sat at a horseshoe of desks while I paced around in the middle.

I just had so much fun. They were switched on, engaged, asking great questions. (They stumbled on things like the criminal law defence of duress or the economics/trade law principle of the “free rider effect” from first principles.) They spontaneously started debating among themselves whether WMD was – just as an idea – a good justification for self-defence, and even got into a debate with each other over whether an example of a real case (the 1959 Italian Tractors dispute under GATT law) was “protectionist” or not.

Other than being lucrative, it’s been really reaffirming that what I want to do is teach.

A friend came to sit in on my WTO session (the one I thought would be hardest to teach), and just came up afterwards and said: “You’re going to be a great lecturer.”

It was the kindest thing anyone could have said at that moment.

Now I just have to supervise their “exam” tomorrow morning … it’s printing as I blog.

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