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Inspiring teenagers

Riccardo Midwinter’s

Riccardo Midwinter’s Tales of The Coach in the Classroom 9

Chapter 1: Inspiring Teenagers Riccardo met Melissa in the staffroom. She was a very tall woman with an angular build. Her skin was cream-coloured. She had high cheekbones and slanted eyes, outlined with silver eyeshadow. Her fine, curly, black hair was short and tied back with a silver clip. Her wardrobe was businesslike, mostly white and grey. She spoke in perfect English with Riccardo, "Welcome to our high school", she said. There was a mocking tone in her voice that suggested she had some fixed idea about what Riccardo knew, or didn't know, about the Swedish school system. On the walk to the Assembly Room where Riccardo was to hold his talk, she gave a lecture of her own. "In Sweden, compulsory schooling ends when students are about 16 years old. The next level of education is voluntary," Melissa related. "You know how tough it is to get work at the moment, well, some students are unable, and some are unwilling, to get proper employment. Many students do not make a fully committed choice of studying at this higher level and simply follow their friends into three years of high school without the drive and motivation that is necessary to guide them through their studies in the best way possible." They turned a corner, Riccardo kept pace and listened avidly, although much of what Melissa was saying was already known to him. Melissa continued, "In order to tackle this widespread lack of motivation, we invite 'motivational speakers' to give talks at the beginning of the year to bring out the reasons for the choices the students have made and hopefully they will get more out of their first year and continue through all three years," she ended her speech exactly as they arrived at the Assembly Room. 29

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