Two unrelated things are on my mind right now:
1) The 300 level class that started out so exciting and compelling has slowed considerably: we are experiencing something like semester-fatigue. A heavy reading and writing load seems to have burned out many students, and several including a couple of my best, are dropping like flies--four have withdrawn and three others have simply stopped coming. The rest are not doing the reading regularly. They had a paper due on Monday, but for today all that was due was a short story and a short essay by Salman Rushdie, and getting people to answer even the simplest questions was like pulling teeth. So how do you jump-start a flagging class like this? Carrot or stick?
2) Registration for Spring semester is starting, and enrollment numbers in undergraduate courses are almost-ridiculous-looking: 1/20, 3/40 etc. But the graduate course I'm teaching in the spring? 14/15! I'm almost full for January and its still October. No pressure or anything!