Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Week 2: Settling into the Semester

My Bright and Shiny Students

This second week of the semester marks the first week in which we hold all classes, labs, and office hours.  Students are also finalizing schedules.   We are beginning to know how the semester will feel and be.  It will be a busy one for me again.  

I have two admissions to make.  First, I needed another week of vacation.  Here in Doha, unlike the U.S., we only have about two weeks of vacation between semesters.  This job is more demanding than teaching law in the U.S., so I miss those extra couple of weeks to rest and catch up.  Of course, I created some of my suffering by traveling to Malaysia and Taiwan during the break and then having to nurse a respiratory infection when I got back.  So, as we move through the next two weeks, I plan to assume we are all feeling a little sluggish.  

Here's my second admission.  I've got great students in both sections.  They are all bright and shiny, and I can't wait to see what they will do over they semester. 

My male section consists of several older students who also work and have families.  They pack all their classes into two days of the week.  Last night, we had a lab from 5 to 6:50 p.m.  I was sure I would have a hard time keeping them awake and engaged.  Instead, they brought a lot of energy to the room.  

My female section is predictably prepared and focused.  I love the opportunity to build relationships with each one of them.  They killed (I mean really killed) the practice exercise on quotation marks.   They also zipped through the lesson on legal research finding the Qatari trademark law in two databases with ease.  I see them in an hour to discuss the different types of legal systems.

As it turns out, Qatar has one of the most complex legal systems in the world.  It's a mix of common law, civil law, Muslim law, and customary (or tribal) law.   That system reflects the country's colonial history and its geographic location.  

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