No one died during my emergency class but they were hoping for automatic "A"s and not entirely happy that the administration found a substitute instructor. (I don't blame them--having a professor skip town is on the level of the legendary roommate suicide rule.)
There's a high percent of teenage males which typically makes for rough work with poetry. In my other class, a good chunk of the young males have kids which make Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein references work. A lot of 18 year olds have made up their minds to hate poetry and nobody's gonna change it.
There's at least one SF/Fantasy fan who knows literature well but, in typical SF fan style, doesn't say a word. My favorite lit class was with a crazy comic/SF fan who related everything to comic books. I hope this guy opens up but he has a "heavy shy" feel to him.