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Ryan spent ten years teaching in comprehensive schools in the South East and London. As a child Ryan pleaded for a full size blackboard and chalk for his eighth birthday; this memoir is an attempt to trace how that wide-eyed eight year old metamorphosed into a teacher who felt he had to give up his career in education. It celebrates the joy of teaching, the characters inhabiting the classrooms, and the unbridled satisfaction of a lessons that genuinely made a difference. But it also shines a light on the challenges: the obsession with data and exam results, the pressure of lesson observations and the tyranny of Ofsted.

It’s also a deeply personal story, covering the tragic deaths of two of his closest colleagues, and Ryan’s struggle to come out as gay. Wrestling to reconcile his sexuality with a religious upbringing, Ryan finds himself in the position of learning from the children he teaches about how to be comfortable in his own skin.