Why I Teach

Leila Nadya Sadat

Every August, there is a sense of excitement at the law school. Another academic year is poised to begin. During the first and second weeks of the month, the quiet and nearly empty hallways of Anheuser-Busch Hall begin to fill with second- and third-year law students returning early to check on their apartments and work on their job searches, journal assignments, and moot court applications. They reconnect with friends and the larger law school community; many come by to say “hello.” It is wonderful to have them back. Their arrival means that it is time to put aside whatever research projects I am working on and get out my course materials, anticipating eagerly the start of the new term. I look at my course notes and try to remember what did and did not work, and what new cases and developments need to be added to my syllabus. Orientation begins, and the 1Ls arrive; the sense of excitement is palpable. Laughter is heard in the commons and the hallways, and students finalize their class schedules, thinking about what this experience will mean for them, their families, and their futures. Suddenly, it is the first day of classes. Course materials ready, roster studied, seating chart prepared, lecture notes in hand, I enter the classroom. I survey the students sitting down, the ones filtering in and looking for seats or for their friends, and the ones discreetly sizing me up. I recognize a few faces, but many are unfamiliar. At eight minutes past the hour, I take a deep breath, look up, smile, and begin class. Another academic year has commenced, and I am reminded why I teach—because it is the most challenging and rewarding job I can imagine.  continue reading

 

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