Talking With Tiger Mom

February 16, 2011 - 12 AM

R.B., 1L

During the last few weeks there has been a lot of buzz around the country about Yale Law School professor Amy Chua. Her recent parenting memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, vaulted to the top of the bestseller lists when it was published last month. Although it’s not a law-related book, its comparison of “Chinese” and “Western” parenting has led to an intense international debate. When an excerpt was published on the Wall Street Journal website a few weeks ago, it became the most commented-on article in the newspaper’s history. Her book landed her on the cover of Time Magazine and led to an appearance on The Colbert Report. It famously attracted ridicule from New York Times columnist David Brooks, and just about every major news source in the country has taken the time to weigh in on the Chua hysteria.

When I tell folks back home that I take a class with Amy Chua, I usually get the same question: “Have you ever talked to her?” To say that Professor Chua talks with her students would be an understatement. In fact, out of every teacher or professor I had during grade school and college, only a small few had taken as much time to get to know students as she does.

On the first day of class last semester, Professor Chua practically begged us to come by during her office hours and to use her as a resource as we were getting adjusted to law school. There were many days when she held office hours for six hours straight, just so she could get a chance to talk with everyone.

A month into the semester, she decided to take my small group (the group of sixteen students that I shared all of my classes with) out for drinks and appetizers. She picked up the tab while sharing all kinds of interesting and off-the-record stories with us. The following month, she threw a big party at her house for our entire class, complete with dinner and a keg. A few weeks later she hosted the Pacific Islander, Asian, and Native American Students’ Association for dinner at her place. The highlight was an hour-long discussion in the living room when we were allowed to ask her absolutely any question we wanted. It did not disappoint.

It’s no surprise that the faculty at Yale is so accomplished – I knew from the beginning that I would be taking courses with bestselling authors, renowned scholars, and high-level government officials. But what has really astounded me is how much the professors here genuinely care about their students. Professor Chua is just one of the many reasons why the faculty here at YLS are unrivalled.