Long ago I dreamt of being a primary school teacher. This is a profession where a mere 15% of staff are men, but my younger-self believed I could make a difference. Plus, I was fascinated by how people learn as they grow. I remember being told by my female tutor: 'Understand how people learn, and you understand how to influence behaviour, and you’ll have the key to everything.'
I headed off to Oxford Polytechnic, better known today as Oxford Brookes University, and when the time came, I was sent to a primary school in Temple Cowley to start my first teaching practise. The school was bustling with energy, and my first assembly was packed with over-excited children who hushed while the head-mistress made a short speech to welcome me onto the staff. I remember a ripple of noise from the children, many eyes focused on me, nudges, winks and pointing. I thought nothing of it.
Five minutes later, I was met in the corridor by a group of eight year-old boys bursting with questions. Loudest of all was a voice shouting: 'What are you doing here?'