I love this time of the year -- I'm not worn out by teaching in the philosophy factory (teaching 180 students AND being department chair this semester... about the same next semester...).
Most of the students are in the 'I'm going to try REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hard' phase. Of course, I wish they'd save this effort for later in the semester when the material gets more difficult -- but, I do appreciate their effort.
My ethics students are reading their first primary source this week-- a short bit of Mackie on subjectivism in ethics. I think it is pretty clear and straightforward (but, not right... ) and they treat it as if they are reading the most confusing thing in the world. The thing is, when I ask them to tell me what they think it means, they generally get it right.
My logic students are learning the joys and sorrows of symbolization. I tend to minimize the actual translation from English to Logic -- because the ambiguities in bad writing become significant... and those ambiguities are frustrating to all of us. Next week they'll take their first quiz and then start learning truth tables.
I have a few slackers -- and I can identify a few of them already. A couple of boys who are way too sexy for their shirts --- and way too cool for logic are slouching in the back, thinking about doing their girlfriends and probably smoking pot on class breaks. Right now they don't bother me -- I know they'll probably fail their first quiz and either shape up or withdraw.
So, how's it going for you??