It's peer review day in class for the draft of the first paper. Only about 12-14 students are still attending at this point, but the others have not dropped. I have written to those who haven't missed many classes, asking them to come see me to discuss the paper, so I can help them. Otherwise, if the class drops below its current 17, and if the others do not return, I fear I will be offered the dreaded "pro-rating," being paid only for those who are left, which is hardly worth my time, given that the 6 week class is so very hard to teach, especially when the students refuse to say anything and sit there waiting to be spoonfed. It is one of those groups, with one or two ringers who nonetheless either say nothing, but just look aware, or who have so many things going on in their lives that they miss a lot of class.
There is one guy who obviously is quite well-versed in literature, a man who is a professional photographer, a student of humanities, who is running a discussion panel on Flannery O'Conner, and is being ordained in the clergy! He is interesting and extremely intelligent, but he has missed 3 classes now. I told him that even though he has so much going on in his life, I need him back in class today.
Another student submitted an extremely interesting reading of "The July Ghost" that interprets the three characters as an allegory of Freud's Id, Super Ego, and Ego. It works rather well, and I showed it in class to give the others ideas, but I don't know if it had any effect at all. It is hard to tell with this group.
Some classes have an odd chemistry; this is one of them.
POSTSCRIPT: The peer review went rather well. A couple of people I haven't seen in a while showed up, including someone who hasn't been in class since the first day. She left before the peer review though, and I subsequently dropped her. The drafts look pretty good, and I have hopes after all that I can perhaps turn this class around, once I get rid of the deadwood.