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Teaching demands a great deal of time and energy.

It always amazes me how much it takes from me to teach well. I’m awed by the time I can devote to it. When I’ve finished a long session of grading papers and look at the clock, it seems I’ve magically sped into the future.

The thing that troubles me most about this is that I am extrinsically motivated to teach.

I derive little pleasure or satisfaction from grading papers or from lecturing. I derive only slightly more satisfaction from that experience all teachers adore: seeing the light of understanding dawn in another’s eyes.

This is not to say that I derive no pleasure from these things. Far from it. But my primary motivation for doing it is pleasing other people — my students, the administration, my family, and so forth.

Little has given me more intrinsic pleasure than writing. I love to write. But for the past dozen years or so, I’ve been plagued by extrinsic fears that keep me from writing. I fear people will find my writing inferior to others’. I fear people will not care to read what I write. I fear writing keeps me from other activities that more obviously fulfill my extrinsic motivations.

I have not written here as much as I would for these very reasons.

In all my teaching, perhaps I should demand some time to teach myself.