I teach the 7th grade - I'll just let that settle in for a moment.
Plenty of my students refuse to carry out their basic function: to learn. However, there are others who have the hunger, the curiosity, and the work ethic it takes to be a good student.
What I go for is to make lifelong students - those funky kind of people who never stop investigating, never stop asking questions. These are the truly beautiful students, these are the readers and the conversationalists. And with the technology we have these days, it's difficult to make a child a reader.
Like I said in Q is for Questions, children need to be encouraged to ask why early and often. Actually, they need to be encouraged to keep asking why - they start on their own.
That is the beautiful part. Children are born with the innate desire to learn. We call them sponges when they repeat what we say - unwisely I gave my wife a racy compliment in the presence of my boys yesterday, only to hear the older one try it out a few moments later - or when they pick up a complex idea like good and evil.
So you see, we don't have to make students, that's been done for us; our job, as teachers and family and friends, is to tend to them, to stimulate the growth that will happen when the why is not stifled.