I had a student in a literature class who–even though she ended up with a good grade in the class–I felt did not “get it” in some important way. Her papers tended to try to argue something an uncontroversial point, and I worried that she wasn’t developing skills for subtle critique.
This student is taking another class of mine this semester–a course designed by another person. My former student, who I did not have high expectations for, just aced a big assignment. A big part of her success was due to her knowledge of poetic forms and techniques–something she learned in my class.
I rarely teach the same students twice, and it’s wonderful at this moment to see that my student learned and improved in my class. And she retained something!