I was walking somewhere and saw a colleague from across campus the other day, and we started chatting in the way you do. The colleague mentioned how much zie loves first year students because they're so enthusiastic and interested, and lamented how students seem to lose those qualities by the time they're in her courses in the third year.
I recognize levels of enthusiasm in first year students, but I appreciate how enthusiastic and interested my junior and senior level students are.
My colleague teaches juniors and seniors, mostly required courses for the major, and occasionally teaches electives at lower levels.
About half my load is first year writing, a course that's not on most students elective list; my junior and senior courses are pretty much electives for majors and minors.
I'm guessing the elective vs required thing is actually a bigger factor than the year in college. What do you think?