“You know how I got through my high-school years? Teachers”
Iam a public-school system kid. I wish I could tell you that I am a success story, going on to get a university y degree and using that t to spring into my life and career with th a great start.
Truth be told, I wasn’t sn’t that great. Maybe I had spark, but by Year 10 and 11 in the northern hern suburbs of Adelaide, I was losing g interest and my average grade e was spiralling from straight ght Bs to Cs and Ds. In fact, I repeated Year 12 to get t better grades because ei I was far too busy trying ng to be liked by everyone ne to ever apply myself. Not much has changed, really.
You know how I got through it? Public high-school teachers. Educators who saw that spark and tried to stimulate te my hormone and junk-food riddled brain in to fire up and be inspired. ed.
This wasn’t Dead Poets Society. We were mainly bogans wearing ng a semblance of a school hool uniform and sporting ng matching mullets. I remember the tireless efforts from my English teacher, Ms Bristow, my classical Greek teacher, Ms Humph Humphries, and the head of music music, Mr Rodgers. Rea Reaching out to me and other others to read out loud. To choos choose novels that woke parts of ou our imaginations from th their dormant slumber. To a allow me and others to practice in the music rooms and be in choirs, even though we never studied music. If it wasn’t for them, I simply don’t know where I would be now. Yet there are some f facts you may not know. Bet Between 2016 to 2017, in some Australian un universities there was a4 a 40 per cent decline in people applying for t teaching degrees. T The Victorian Tertiary Admissions Centre reported a 40 per cent d drop and the University of Queensland experienced a plummet of 44 per cent. Why? We don’t pay t them enough. The starting salary is $67,000. Yet we expect so much back in return.
I know it’s a noble profession, but this is ridiculous. The future of our country is at stake and, like any business, we need to give people incentives to want to do this.
We need to have the best graduates go back and educate, not just for the star pupils, but those kids the system needs to help. The ones that are up the back, trying to not have to answer a question. The ones who just need the right person to say, “I believe you can do this.”
They can alter someone’s destiny. Change the course of a child’s life.
Instead of complaining about them, we should thank them more often. David co-hosts Today Extra, 9am weekdays, on the Nine Network.
You suffered panic attacks as a child. Has success ended that? God, no. With success it’s gone? No, no, no. I think it’s interesting when you think, “If this just happens in my life, I’ll feel like I’ve really got it under control. I won’t feel this fear anymore.” But the opposite is true. Or at least it is for me. I manage it differently now, but I’m a worrier. I haven’t slept through the night in five years, probably. But many of us haven’t. I’m definitely a neurotic. Did you fit into Hollywood as soon as you arrived? I auditioned for quite a while. The great luck that I now see I had on my side was because I came out [to Hollywood] at 15; I had a lot of naïveté. So I was like, “I’m just going to do it!” And that idealism lends itself well to being in the industry. I don’t know that I ever felt like I fit in, in a specific way. I still don’t know that I feel that way, even though it might look different on the surface. What did you sacrifice for your ambition? When I was younger – because I left where I grew up to audition – that sacrifice would just be leaving school. But I loved that at the time. I was like, “I’m not in school anymore!” Now I’m like, “You’re insane, you probably should’ve gone to school…” The only thing that’s been a major difference and something that has been very hard to reconcile – and I don’t know if I’ll ever adjust to it – is loss of anonymity. It’s not something you can really imagine until it happens, and then you mourn it. It’s like a little piece of you has died. How did winning the Oscar for La La Land change things? In terms of what I’ve been drawn to, I wouldn’t say anything has really changed. It was an amazing night and an incredible experience and very surreal, but I don’t know that anything has changed inside of me… I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. I have to keep learning and growing and hopefully getting better. You turned 30 last month; do you ever consider where you want to be in 10 years? I have no idea… I hope I’ve got my head screwed on. I hope my family’s still around and healthy. I hope my friends stick around. I hope to be cognisant of everything. My number one phrase is “sanity first”. Your new film The Favourite is about England’s Queen Anne and her relationship with two courtiers. How rare are rich female roles? Male or female – especially female, based on what I’ve seen and read – it’s incredibly rare to find fantastic characters. So it was very enticing. I thought these three women were so well-drawn and complex. I couldn’t imagine not getting to be a part of it. At one point your character Abigail says, “I’m always on my side.” Is looking out for yourself first something you believe in doing? You have to look out for yourself, but to say my interests are the most important thing could be relatively sociopathic if you saw it from a certain lens. I’m not saying she’s a sociopath; she’s a survivor and she needs that kind of strength to make it through. Her circumstances are enormously difficult. I just don’t know if I share that mentality. What about riding a horse? You do that a lot in the film… Oh god, why do people ride horses? People love it. I love horses. I don’t want to get on one. I don’t want to ride one! Ugh… that part. The Favourite is in cinemas from December 26.