In taking a look at my class rosters for the spring I've been pleased by how many of my students from last semester are taking classes with me again--and especially by how good all my returning students are! I'm especially excited about my Shakespeare class, where I'll have six of the eight best students from my fall Brit Lit class. By "best students" I don't necessarily mean that they got the highest grades in the class, although most of them did do very well; rather, they're smart, eager, and mostly very participatory. Even the one kid who didn't do at all well is bright--just not particularly hard-working.
So this is all nice and affirming in the same way that my evaluations were (more on them later, but they were damn good--and this surprised me, given how low the average grades I gave were and how tough I know even my best students thought me).
But there's a problem: one of the eight or nine repeat students I'm going to have this semester is, literally, a repeat student: she's retaking the same class that she took with me in the fall, presumably in the hope of getting a better grade than a D. Although I don't fully understand why she's retaking this class with me--there's another section being taught this semester, at a convenient time, and by an instructor who isn't exactly know for being demanding--I certainly don't mind having this student again; she's pleasant and quiet and maybe studying this material for a second time is what she needs in order to understand it.
Oh no, the problem here is my own vanity. I'm using exactly the same syllabus this term that I used last term. And although I don't do precisely the same thing with each text from semester to semester, overall I do tend to raise the same questions, look at the same passages, and do the same assignments. And, most embarrassingly, I tend to make the same jokes. And those seemingly spontaneous, colloquial riffs and rephrasings that always go over so well? Not always so spontaneous.
Do you think she'll notice? Or do I need to invent a whole new shtick?