This month brings an anniversary for me – a work-iversary if you will. On 29 May it will be five years since I started working at Edinburgh Law School. There have been many, many highlights along the way but one set of workshops I run has never failed to make me laugh over the years. They are, of course, the Primary School workshops we run as part of the Early Years initiative run by The University of Edinburgh.
The Early Years initiative, run by my colleague Dr Neil Speirs of Students Recruitment and Admissions, works with the primary schools that feed into the secondary state schools with the lowest progression onto Higher Education. Its aim is to raise aspirations and increase awareness of opportunities available to the pupils as they progress through school. At this age, we are not asking pupils to indicate an interest in studying at university, let alone specifically in studying law, but are simply aiming to give a 'taster' of what university life is and to show the vast array of subjects available for them to study.
Much work is done by Dr Spiers in creating and maintaining links with the schools and pupils. The pupils are visited at school as well as being brought on campus. We then work with the pupils again when they are in s1 and sometimes s2 in secondary school ensuring continuity in our message.
I thought I'd take this chance to share some of the funny and sometimes poignant answers I have had from Primary and s1/s2 pupils over the years.
When asked what laws they would bring in and why:
- (Make it illegal…) to see animal cruelty and not stop it because animals are just like human beings.
- (Make it illegal…) to see somebody homeless on the street and not donate.
- No raisicim because it is nasty and not nice. Punishment for breaking it: Exicusion. (sic)
- Don't be cheeky until you reach 3rd year because teacher's job will be easier.
- Every Wednesday's"active day". Why? To keep fit and maybe be in the Olymics or worldcup (sic).
There was one law I simply couldn't decipher but it has one of the most imaginative punishments for breaking it:
"You get put in prison with angry pigs and rats that eat your flesh. And a frog will Exsacute you." (sic)
When asked to describe what lawyers do:
- Help people, present cases in the court, fight battle, say as much as they can to win a case. They wear cool costumes.
- Defends, pursue, gowns, give good information, wear black in court, research.
- Helps the two sides.
- He defends his clients, helps his clients, witnesses, snoops around looking for evadence and cracks the case. (sic)
Wonderful! There are so many more but these are just a few of my favourites and I thought it a nice way to mark my work-iversary.