My 8th grade class in large part is extremely jaded about school. I can see it in their eyes when I talk to them about anything related to content or learning. Yes, they come alive when we discuss things they see as non-schoolie. Unfortunately, their idea about what is best for themselves stops somewhere between what I enjoy and what I should do to succeed. Usually it is way too close to the former side.
This isn't a pity party though, this is a reminder to myself that anyone can teach kids that want to learn. It is easy to walk into a class of bright, smiling faces eager to discover new knowledge. What is hard is to walk into class every day knowing that I face a battle that will often be lost. The real teachers walk into the class anyway.