Tuesday, July 18, 2017

And breaking through

I feel in a happier mood today.

Part of it is, yes, my student is now back, so I'm not concerned that her stomach issue was a really BIG issue (I think I am scared of stomach bugs now, after my own woes of several months in 2016, and moreso the fact that Margaret's cancer apparently showed up first as something that seemed like a stomach bug but got worse and worse). But also, she's a super-positive person, and being around someone like that, it cannot help but rub off on me a little and it raises my mood to be working with her.

Also, we got the weeding done and the germination check sorted, so all I need do tomorrow (it is her day off hose duty) is water the things. And I got the next draft of our paper to her and we will work on that again on Thursday.

And I broke through a little stall on the Policy and Law stuff - I had been doing a lot of "catch up" reading in the other books I have and got REALLY bogged down in the whole judicial-review end of things and also some of the federal-government stuff. Part of it is I'm working out of three books - started with a 2008 edition of "Environmental Law for Non-Lawyers" (Firestone and Reed), which is the most readable of the three, but then I figured I had better dip into the Kubasek and Silverman one (that's an older one, last revised in 2002 and it seems to have been somewhat unevenly revised - some of the chapters don't mention GW Bush's changes, and he would have been in office when it came out). That's where I bogged down in some of the judicial stuff.

I had also looked into getting a newer edition of that Kubasek book - there is a 2013 edition (which, given what's going on in government? Probably not quite new ENOUGH....) but Amazon wants something like $160 for a copy, or I can "rent" a copy (no thanks) for the "bargain" price of $40.

I figured, given the uneven updating of the one I have, that renting probably wasn't even worth it. (And I can search things online, and have, and have found some of the updated information I need).

But I did find a cheap-enough "Essentials Of" by Nash, and started reading that. It's....not that fun. Sometimes law/economics stuff is not written in a very engaging way and I can feel my brain trying to turn off as I read it. (I take copious notes, which forces me to stay engaged).

Today, I finally said "Bag it" and started making some new presentations: one on the history and function of the EPA, and another one on "how agency regulations get made" and got some progress done. (I have eight presentations, in part or in full, at this point, but I may be streamlining two and combining them, I don't know).

But yeah. Gotta get back to the presentations and gotta move on from the dense law stuff, because it's just a bit more than 30 days before classes start and I still have to cover land use and RCRA and RIFRA and the Lacey Act and lots of those other things. And I have to figure out some readings - I have "Tragedy of the Commons" lined up for early on, and also a PM Wald article that goes through some of the history and justification for environmental legislation, but I need a few more readings, and both of those will be early-in-the-semester one. (I opted not to use a texbook, because of constraints of time and also I know those things are expensive and get dated fast, though next go-round I might have people get the little Nash book, even though it's not an exciting read, it's not that expensive, and is a good basic handbook.)

But yeah: I feel a little better for having got that much done today. And maybe I need to just power through and do the Land Use stuff tomorrow (I have the chapter in Firestone and Reed nearly completed, and I can just add to it if the other books have other stuff I need to add).  And I should look at what my predecessor in this did; she gave me all her materials.

I will confess I'm a little scared about this class and may be over preparing, I don't know.

I was thinking today of "The Paper Chase" (which maybe I should try to see if Amazon Prime has for streaming and watch again) and yeah, I know that was a very different type of law (Contract law was what Kingsfield was all about) but I admit there's a certain attraction for that character to me, even if he was kind of rude to his students. (And you don't DARE be rude to students any more; I don't even know if you could at Harvard Law). But I do wish I could come across as a bit more Imperious, and a bit more of an Authority. Or even an Eminence grise (well, my hair isn't quite there yet).

I'd like to be more like Kingsfield (I'd include a picture, but Blogger's "photo" function seems to be borked) but I admit a lot of days I feel like I come across more like Mme. Trelawney in the Harry Potter movies - oddly dressed, a bit goofy, a bit not quite "there" - I do tend to go off onto odd tangents at times or make obscure jokes that it turns out no one gets.

(For example, I cared enough to look up a photo of Arthur Pigou when I referenced Pigouvian tax and stick it in the Powerpoint. And I'm going to show them the "I'm Just a Bill" Schoolhouse Rock as a reminder of how laws get made in Congress)

And while my glasses aren't quite that thick, some days I do feel about that myopic. 

But my usual MO when I'm apprehensive about something is to overprepare. (I am the one who practiced my grad-school research-talks for conferences four times before going to the conference, and then tried to practice them twice the day before, if I could find a room set up to allow practicing of talks). So maybe I'll be fine, I don't know. (And even if it's not perfect, I'm probably the most qualified person who has the time in her schedule to teach this, so)

1 comment:

Lynn said...

I always liked teachers who made obscure jokes. Sometimes I would get the joke and realize that most other people in the class didn't and that would make me feel a little bit smug. When I was in jr high I had a science teacher who had a very dry sense of humor. Most kids didn't like him because they didn't understand why he said "weird things" but it made me feel "above average" to realize that I was one of the few who got his jokes.