Sounds a little like how I felt when first starting to learn Russian. So much to learn, so quickly, and it was overwhelming... and I was a full time student at the time, so it was my entire focus. Sounds like the teacher is treating you as if you are full time students with loads of free time, which seems a little ambitious for an evening course! (Understatement of the century, I know...)
I would say that people who are generally busy tend to be very good at time management: doesn't necessarily stop you feeling overwhelmed, o'course, but in some ways you're probably more equipped than people with fewer demands on their time.
It wasn't so intense, but I did an evening course in Japanese in my fourth year at uni, and ended up having to approach it in a way that just said, okay, I'm doing this for fun, and what sticks, sticks. Ideally you have time to do the work, but sometimes you just don't. Doesn't mean you can't get something out of it along the way. Does that sound like it might be feasible in the context of this course? I don't know how it's structured and how the classes are run, so I'm just throwing out ideas.
I think my gut feeling would be to talk to the teacher if at all possible, and to try and make it work for you. That might mean that some of it goes over your head or you don't learn as much as you'd like, but if you can glean enough information to give yourself a grounding (with an eye towards building on that later) and keep it fun, then it isn't necessarily the end of the world if you don't keep up per se... if that makes sense?
Obviously the best thing would be if he remembered he was teaching a course to a bunch of people with other time demands, but if you can go with the attitude of "well, I'm going to learn something, and it's interesting, and I'm not going to worry about all the stuff which will go right over my head", then it might become a bit less daunting? Depends on the nature of the class, of course, but it might help. If it's very interactive that might be an issue, but if he's fond of the whole lecture thing well... you may get away with not being as genned up as would be ideal.
Another thought that occurs to me: sometimes teachers pile on during the start of a course to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were - not, if you ask me, a particularly good
teaching method, but it's not that unusual. The pace might
ease up. Might not, of course, but it's possible. Sadly, academic brilliance doesn't always help with the teaching, I think some teachers assume everyone is as brilliant as they are, which isn't very helpful to us mere mortals... That's happened to me a lot...
The fact that a quarter of the students have already dropped out should really be telling someone, somewhere that there is something amiss - if not the teacher himself, the school should be keeping an eye? I would have thought that someone up the chain of command would want to know, anyway... I mean, you're a student, but you're also a paying customer, right? It isn't unreasonable to expect that a course should meet the customer's needs, and if something is being advertised as an evening course and being taught as if you're an undergrad, then there's something wrong somewhere.
Hmmm... I don't know if I'm being any use here whatsoever
I do think there's value in sticking with it IF
if!) you can find a way to do so without it sending you totally doolally
If you can make it work for you - say, by accepting that you aren't going to catch everything but you will learn something - then go for it. If it becomes apparent that coasting somewhat just isn't going to work...
I'm a linguist, I'm kind of wired to say take any chance you can to learn any language available, so I am admittedly biased here
But... When it's a subject you've a passion for and you're excited about - I mean, it is emphatically not worth losing your sanity over, but I do think it's worth trying to see if you can make the opportunity work for you. If that makes sense?
Huh... Okay the late hour is showing... I am sorry this is long. Languages are a passion so yeah... I really hope you can figure out a way to make it work for you, it's such a shame when something one is excited about becomes a source of stress instead of pleasure
Okay, last thought and then I will shut up
I remember finding a series of books some years ago aimed solely at teaching various scripts... of course, now I'm looking and can't find 'em
but such things do exist and sometimes they have really helpful tips on dealing with a given script. I also, when trying to find said series, stumbled across a site aimed at helping people learn Devanagari: http://www.avashy.com/hindibhasha/index.asp
- I'm on my iPad and the script won't run so I have to admit I can't attest to how good it is
but it might be worth looking into.
I really hope you can find a way to make it work for you, Pete, I remember your anticipation for the course. Good luck.