MY BLOG: Every day for a year.
Day 26. ‘What motivates you?’

A challenge, that’s what. Up until Year 10 at high school, I was an inglorious straight ‘C ‘student. Miss Plods A Lot. I was happy to coast along with little to no effort for my ‘C’s. My report card always read like the cliched teachers refrain “could do much better if only she would apply herself” etc…
I have always thrived on being underestimated, but in order to rise to the occasion, the opponent has to spark something. That can be all manner of things, but in this case, it was my new English teacher. He haphazardly flapped his way around our tables, dropping marked papers to the corresponding raised hands. I watched him with uncharacteristic interest. He seemed youngish to my eyes, scruffy black hair with a stubbly face. It’s fair to say it’s the first time I’d really noticed the opposite sex. He paused as he reached my desk, tossing my paper down with the same level of disregard I had given it in the first place. The task set by the previous teacher, who had done nothing to inspire me, was now filling me with some regret that I had not applied myself. The trouble with first impressions, you only get one and I had made a poor start. The more he spoke in class, the more intrigued I became. I started preparing for the class, raising my hand in answer to his questions. It became like a sparring match, much to the chagrin of my classmates, but they didn’t factor into this challenge. The dictionary and the thesaurus became my nightly reading ritual in an effort to expand my vocabulary. Knowledge was never the motivator. It was my first crush. As I moved my ‘C’ to an ‘A’ in English, I felt the raised eyebrow of a ‘doubting Thomas’ across my other subjects. I was uncomfortable with the implication, and the presumption that I really was just a plodder. It became like a game. Reinvention, and changing people’s perceptions. The prouder my English teacher was of me, the harder I worked. By the end of year 11, I’d gathered straight A’s. At my teacher’s encouragement, I applied for a music/academic scholarship to University High School. Whilst I was thrilled to get it, I was sad at leaving my inspiration behind. I remember standing with him, rather awkwardly on the school steps to say goodbye. I reached out and shook his hand, and thanked him for being my spark. He smiled from ear to ear and told me to have a wonderful life. The most important lesson I ever learned, and it’s not just a cliche. You really can accomplish almost anything if you set your mind to it. You just need to find your spark. 🙂

Thanks for listening, until tomorrow,
Stevie. x