I applied for a TA position at Queen’s this past week. The position would have me assisting with an introductory law class for undergraduates, sitting on the other side of the tutorial room, as it were. There are a few reasons why I’ve done this. Ranked from most to least noble, they are:

1. A genuine desire to teach. Law school has its ups and down, but by and large the material is fascinating. I love explaining the significance of various cases to my friends and family, and  I’ve always wanted to try my hand at teaching, so this seems like the perfect opportunity. Even though I only have one year of law school under my belt, I feel like I could make an actual contribution to the academic lives of 25 or so students.

2. It looks good on a resume. “Look at what a great guy I am, balancing a legally relevant job on top of law school. Doesn’t that make you want to hire me?!”

3. It’s something to do. I mean, I’ve got nothing else to do on Wednesday evenings. Might as well get out of the apartment rather than spending my evening staring into the abyss and slowly slipping into madness.

4. The money. I don’t like having to ask my parents for money if I can avoid it, and as a result I’ve had to decide between going out for drinks with friends or buying food for the next day. I’m not complaining – there are plenty of people who don’t have their parents to bail them out if things get really dire – but at the same time it’d be nice to relieve the financial pressure a little bit. The job would pay me about a thousand dollars per semester, and while that amount wouldn’t allow me to light expensive Cuban cigars with $50 bills, it would be enough to stop me from having to think about my financial situation before everything I do.

5. Being the smartest person in the room again. You ever look around you and realize that you’re the smartest person in the room? It’s a feeling I had a lot of in elementary school but less and less of as time has passed. I like the feeling of people looking to me for the answers, of being the only source of the sacred knowledge. It makes me feel important. Powerful, even. And speaking of power…

6. The power. Look, some undergraduate students are little shits. Not “all” of them. Not even “most” of them. But some of them are. And you can tell which ones are, because they’re the ones who try to impress the professor and the TAs by asking questions which they already know the answer to, correcting insignificant errors , or making completely irrelevant comments in order to show off how much they already know. The thing is, no one is in university because they already know everything. Everyone is in university because there’s a lot that they don’t know. Pretending that you’re the exception to that rule is stupid and immature. With this job, I’d have some measure of power over the little shits. I’d have discretion over their 10% participation grade, and I’d get to mark a couple of essays during the course of the year. Would I use that power to smite someone just for being a smart-ass in class? Absolutely not. But I’d certainly read their papers a little more closely to be extra certain that I catch each and every error.

 

All of that is well and good, but realistically it’s all moot. I’m a second-year law student, and preference for these positions goes to third year law students. But hey, it’s worth a shot anyhow. If I get it, great. If not, at least it forced me to update my abominably out-of-date CV.

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