Every once in a while there is a course that you just can't make work. I am teaching such a course this semester. For some reason, it's not happening. I have taught this course several times in the past, including at this university. I am very familiar with the material and the textbook. I like the material and the textbook. I have a stack of original activities prepared and I keep creating new ones. The group is very good. These students must have had very good profs before me because their general level of preparedness for this course is outstanding. They work hard, and I have no complaints to make of them.
And still, every single time after the class ends, I have this profound feeling of complete and utter failure. I keep trying to change things around, play with the format, bring different kinds of activities, but nothing works. I'm not connecting with this particular group of students. They exist as a completely separate entity, and nothing I do brings me closer to them. I know that this sounds confusing to those who are not teachers, but that's how it feels. It's got me to the point where I feel frumpy and irrelevant every time I walk into this classroom. And this is not the way I usually feel about myself.
Just wanted to share.