This semester I am teaching it on the heels of having taught it in the fall and I think I finally solved the mystery and wanted to see if this pattern is recognized by others and if it happens in other fields. Here is my hypothesis:
Non-majors courses go better in the fall than in the spring because the fall sections are full of eager beavers who want to check things off their lists, and the spring is full of loser seniors who put it off to the last minute.
In the fall, my students got overwhelmed in the beginning because they didn't know they were supposed to do the reading on the syllabus and not wait for me to announce reading assignments the way high school teachers do. Other than that, they were open minded, energetic and curious.
This semester if I change the color chalk I use, it sparks a cacophony of indignation and I need to duck the hate rays that fly from their stinky f***ing faces. I need to defend every word I use and every question I ask. The rate of "Can you tell me exactly what is going to be on the test?" requests is through the roof and it is often followed up by "because I need to do well in this class I have to graduate".
That's got to be it. I went back through old Excel files of grade books and every time I've f***ing hated my non-majors, it was the spring, and every time I've loved them, it was the fall.
Have you ever seen this?
Does this happen in [Western Civ, Psych 101, Composition II, Yoga....], or is it a Math/Science thing?