I was digging thorugh some files in the basement today and came across a piece of paper with this sonnet on it, which I'd date from my student teaching days.
My students do not feel motivated:
She falls asleep, he stares and yawns and stares.
Sometimes I feel as if they are fated
To sit, quiet, apathetic in chairs.
I praise them, give them fun work to complete:
"Good job, Johnny!" "Keep working hard, Susan!"
But the enthusiasm fails. 'Tis feat
To win my students' hearts; I am losin'.
Yet just as a fair maiden requires
Specific commentary to be wooed,
Likewise learners will light their own fires
Of motivation and curious mood.
The difference 'tween Encouragement and praise
One is specific, one an empty phraise.
(Though, I'd say now, motivation is just a little more complex than that . . .)
Fun Fact: The other half of the paper this sonnet was found on contains ideas for a graphic novella about a mind reading super hero turned teacher who uses his powers to determine what would motivate his students until he's involved in a violent car crash and loses his abilities.