Paul Dix made me cry.

Not once, but both times I’ve heard him speak.

It’s not his dodgy jokes. It’s that when he talks, every core of his being sees you as human first. He has a way of emphasising before enrolling. Of making you feel acknowledged and validated.

I first met him at the Sunday Times Festival of Education. He was standing near a twig balanced in a bucket and festooned with ribbons. The image of a guy that looks a bit like a rugby player standing next to what appeared something he’d nicked from the window of a Cath Kidson shop intrigued me so I went over.

He told me about working with kids in PRUs and I told him I one of those kids and what he does may not look like it at the time but has a huge impact years down the line. Then I left, feeling encouraged and a bit worried about agreeing to be interviewed on his podcast!

That meeting was significant as it was the beginning of my realisation I didn’t have to pretend to be ‘normal’ in order to be a great educator.

I could be authentically me.

That my hopes for what education could be may well be naive but they are based on a strong sense of purpose driven by my experiences and beliefs. They were valid.

In Paul’s training, he does something incredible. With authentic compassion, he entices battle weary teachers to do what they came into teaching to do.

Make a difference.

Teachers who are dedicated to the success of their learners but live constantly buried under demands of a system that desperately needs reviewing.

Under that level of stress, with values compromised and happiness put on hold, even the most dedicated and level headed individual can get hooked into a power play with an angry child.

I was the victim of that throughout school. I learned how to push buttons, create tension and cause a riot, then I used my new found super power to create more havoc!

It was all I knew how to do well and it was a narrative reinforced by every adult in my life.

My actions were the attempt of a broken little girl to move the goal posts into a position where she actually stood a chance of scoring a goal.

That’s why I cry when I hear him talk. Because while I now have the articulation to express what was wanted and needed, the troubled child whose name popped into your head when you read the paragraph above doesn’t.

Pivotal Education literally gives you those words.

Please, if you haven’t already, do yourself a huge favour and check out Paul’s new book When Adults Change Everything Changes. Along with Ellie Dix, Paul is providing a roadmap for teachers to entice, engage, enrol and enhance learners into transformational relationships.

Lastly, please accept my heartfelt thanks for being a teacher.

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