I teach two courses, and I've been teaching the same two courses for three years now. For a lot of teachers I've talked to, three years seems to be the magic number when you've got everything worked out, found the labs you like, know which activities come together well and which ones don't. But I'm noticing a difference between my two courses.
In one of my courses, I'm teaching the same material but at an accelerated pace. This helps me keep it fresh, as I need to decide which sections to delve deeper into and which ones are supporting materials for later points. The other course is the same level I've always taught; and I'm worried I'm getting stale.
I worry I might get a little too comfortable in that class, knowing that I've got the activity sheets made, I've got the lab materials, maybe I can wait til the last minute to put it together and worry about something else instead? I worry that by getting too comfortable with it, I go too fast and lose my students because all of this is old hat to me. I worry that I'll forget what it's like to look at this material for the first time, and the wonder of seeing it all come together.
Part of my plan to address this will be my lab skills assessments for this year. My other part of my plan is to really listen to my students. To hear them as they approach the material and understand their theories as they put it all together for the first time.
What do you do to keep it fresh?