PhD Me at It’s Probably Me:
You know you have good students when you can leave them on their own and they keep having class.
I have actually left class totally unattended for a week while I went to a conference abroad, but they were working on a big research paper, and it was workshop week. So the first class they came to class just to exchange their papers with their partner, and the second class they came and workshopped the papers. I think I found a colleague to take attendance the first day, but not the second day. Mostly freshmen, but a small class, and toward the end of term so some classroom community had developed.
I was clearly pretty anxious—I made the partners exchange every form of communication, and I emphasized that their main priority was not screwing over their partner, and if someone did, I wanted to hear about it.
I didn’t hear any backsplash. I would do it again. Except for the part where I had to read all the research paper drafts in about one day when I got back.