Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The World Is Your Oyster




I remember it like it was yesterday. My 7th grade homeroom teacher, Mrs. Seabolt, told me that the "World could be my oyster." Let me give you a little bit of background information. In elementary school I got decent grades but I was talkative and my grades didn't reflect my potential. I had never heard the term "World could be your oyster" so being the curious youth that I was I asked her what it meant. She basically told me that "all opportunities are open to someone, the world is theirs." Maybe it was the naivety of a 12 year old but I actually believed that I could do anything I put my mind to. I actually believed that I could take over the world. All this because an 80+ year old woman with throat cancer believed in me. Yep 80+. Mrs. Seabolt always carried around a cup of water because her radiation therapy left her without the ability to produce her own saliva. It really hurt me the next year when I found out that she succumbed to her cancer. From the 7th grade till my junior year in high school I didn't get so much as a B on my report card (damn physics). I've never shared my motivation behind doing so well in school with anyone. She didn't just tell me positive things. She saw my potential and worked with me. She kicked me in the ass whenever I slacked and pushed me to be great.

It's amazing how someone can see something in you that you never saw in yourself. All it takes is someone to open up your eyes so you can see it for yourself. Teachers have the most underrated, underpaid, under appreciated profession in this country. My motivation to do well in school was an older, Caucasian woman. Not my parents, not a professional athlete, not a rapper but a teacher.

To this day I still think I can take over the world. Maybe not in the literal sense but in a theoretical one. I still think that I can do anything I put my mind to. I don't put restrictions on myself. I know that in order to achieve anything in this world, I have to grab the opportunities that life has given to me. I find it ironic that the woman who first gave me my motivation died from cancer now I'm in the field of cancer research.

Who first told you that you could be great? Where do you continue to look for motivation? Do you have that one teacher who made a difference in your life?

This is my song of the month and maybe the summer.

7 comments:

Ms. Sylaneous said...

#1-Who first told you that you could be great?
~I can't honestly say I remember who it was specifically, but my family has always been my support, my cheerleaders, my ass-kickers and all that. From my great grandma who used to FORCE me to the piano at church even when I was shaking so bad I could hardly walk... to my daddy who cheered me on in bball when I missed EVVVEERRRYY shot. My aunt, (my kindergarten teacher) who doubled as my baby sitter when i didn't have one at home and had to go to kindergarten as a 3 y/o with the 5 y/o. MY aunt didnt' treat me any different... I was a 5y/o in her class...so yeah.. I was doing the 'coloring' and the 'reading'...LOL My mom (a teacher by heart and by profession) ALWAYS had her ways of motivating me to do things I never thought I'd ever be able to do. She introduced me to soo many things and a youngster... I may have NEVER perfected any one thing I've attempted, but in every thing I've attempted, I've been damn good at it... so I'm GREAT at attempts, may fall short of perfection, but will appreciate my perserverance towards completion.

#2-Where do you continue to look for motivation?
~One of my BIGGEST motivations is what my grandpa always told me. He would always say to me, 'Ron, you are the oldest (of his grandkids), I expect YOU to do well, I stay on you to excel so that I won't have to always get on to the younger ones... they need to look up to you and follow suit'. He started telling me that when I was about 7 or 8...the last time he said it to me, was about 1 month before he died... and then he said, 'even if I'm dead and gone, you know what you need to do, I expect it from you, and your sister and cousins deserve it from you'.... SOOO even when it's rough, I draw from that... and push forward... My grandpa is no longer here, and my 'baby cousin' is now 16, but I still have that role to fill as 'role model' and as long as life is left in my body... that's what I plan to do!

#3-Do you have that one teacher who made a difference in your life?
~non family memeber would be Ms. McKenzie. She taught my mom and all of my aunts. She was my advanced english teacher for 3 years (i know i know...) She was a family friend, my 'school mom' (dated her son for DAMN EVER), and a hell of a speech coach.... I always liked writing, but she helped me realize more of my potential. She pushed me, I pushed back, then she shoved the shit outta me...LOL I appreciate the love/abuse she gave to me... I never realized exactly how much she GAVE me as far as strenght and knowledge until I graduated college. To this day, she still checks on me and vice versa... she never forgets to remind me that she can still beat my butt if she needs to! LOL Tough love DOES work! :-) I'm a product of it!

Good post Tunde... per usual!

m said...

Growing up I was encouraged to be good rather than great. Obedient rather than accomplished. So ambition is something I have always struggled with. Like you I had a teacher - actually a couple of teachers - who saw potential in me and encouraged me, but what motivates me is a close friend of mine who passed away ten years ago. He was an amazing person who I believe was on a path to great things when his life was cut short. So when I feel complacency settling over me I look at his picture and ask myself what he would say if he could see me slacking, and what right do I have to throw my life away when his was taken from him?

Melody said...

Who first told you that you could be great?
Fortunately for me, my parents told me. I grew up in the hood and there weren't many positive images outside of my home.

Where do you continue to look for motivation?
As a teacher, my motivation to continue doing what I do is seeing a child "get it" and reading stories like this. I love hearing from former students who tell me that because of my class, they've become better students and better people.

Do you have that one teacher who made a difference in your life? Yes! My 9th grade history teacher, Ms. Wyndham. Before her class, I was very shy. She made us speak in front of the class and I was damn-near in tears! But she was so creative, inspiring and really didn't care about what anyone thought (she made and wore her own wacky clothes) that I learned to just be me and people would accept it or not. By the end of the year, I had actually taught a whole class by myself!

Sunkissed404 said...

Outside of my immediate family, I remember being told I could be great from my 6th grade teacher,Mrs. Scruggs. I wish everyone had the opportunity to meet her because she knew what she was doing and she wanted to uplift each and every one of her students. I was an energetic child and I can remember being faced with racism at an early age..having a teacher who wanted to kill my enthusiasm when I told her I wanted to be a Pharmacist. I was in the 3rd grade, and I went home crying when she looked at me and said "Being a Pharmacist is hard". Why don't you become a teacher or a cashier or something like that?" I was uncomfortable, and told my mom about it. She was flaming mad! She cheered me up and went right back to the teacher to ask her to clarify (remember those days). Anyway, God bless those people who are put on your path to catch you after you're faced with negativity, because there will be negative people. I surround myself with positive people, so I look to my friends and family for motivation. However, you have to "Be the change you want to see".

Streetz said...

Glad she had that effect on your life. Teachers are priceless!

Reina said...

Oh wow. I adore this post.

I didn't have the greatest relationships with my teachers. I'm pretty sure we both waited with bated breath for our time together to be over. LOL My dad was my motivation. I've said it on my blog often, but his faith and support in me gave me all the courage I needed to accomplish anything.

Milan said...

My parents first told me. Even to this day they are my biggest cheerleaders. They continue to push and strive to do great things even when i'm "hesitant" to step out or "don't see the way". I'm blessed. I think my mom especially sees a lot of things in me that she wishes she had or could have done before getting married and having 3 children. She's very "you go girl!" (yes she's still on that) with every accomplishment I have or every inkling I have in my mind to do something better and bigger. My dad is practical...you work hard, study hard...you will reap the benefits. Period.

I have had some AMAZING teachers though. AMAZING. I don't even think my school experiences have been typical. My 2nd grade teacher Ms. Johnson was the love of my life for a long time (no homo). I STILL remember key things from her class and things she taught me and she always believed in me (even at 7). My 3rd and 4th grade teacher Ms. Harrison came to my high school graduation. My mom invited her. She was TOUGH (like my mom which is why they got along) but she never let me settle and not strive. She pushed me to come out of my "shy shell". Some Honorable Mentions Mr. Collier (my jr. high history teacher), Mr. De La Loza (my hs chemistry teacher), and Ms. Blevins (my hs calculus teacher). Each one taught me waaaaaay more than the subject they were assigned. Great post, Fav! ;)