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The Secret We Almost Never Remember

After being in education for years and speaking to numerous teachers, Carl wondered what made people become teachers and why they stay in education. What is the ‘Secret We Almost Never Remember’.

Hi I am Carl and although I have been teaching in one shape or form since 2003, I am often shocked how people with vast teaching experience way more than I have managed to keep that high level of commitment and vision despite the current climate of education.

So I went on a mission and so every time I encountered one of these superstars, I asked them their secret…

And the answer floored me, it was just such a small thing. Yet all the same or similar response.

I went to meet the team at Nexus HQ and this as this topic came up in conversation as they wanted to help educators new to the role, (and to open up discussion and shared best practice going forward).

So I told them the story of an amazing teacher. The school had been in special measures the year before and she had decided to make a change.

It started with the one lesson, making a new connection with the most challenging student.

The driving force behind it all….. The BIG Secret… that she says all teachers forget?

They decided to become a teacher, to take the training, to take the path to commit to a career in Education.  And at every point to get them through.

They say the same thing, or something very similar.


Sorry to shout, but think about it… that statement is a game changer.

It says you can and you will and as long as it makes a difference to one student that’s the payoff the only reward she expected.

It’s not just a sandals and candles mantra, but a CORE BELIEF! When she speaks about it you can feel the room filled with a positive charge.

The kids respond to her in a way that has to be seen to be believed. It’s an energy.

An energy that after 15 years, I have to personally admit I lost a little.

So I tried it on for size with my audiences making a mental decision silently to myself before hitting the stage that this was going to be the best session I could deliver to make a difference… and the results… WOW!

Audiences of students have more attention, long standing teaching staff who sometimes clash with certain pupils decide to soften slightly but still demand the respect they deserve and try again, their flexibility of building a new pathway of communication and a level of trust that allows them to push the emotional reset button in the student and to start over again.

I am still experimenting with this and trying to match the intention with the actual room. As I work with different teams I am seeing this everywhere.  There is always a communications superstar. And it’s up to you to learn every single trick they understand.

From the Crossing Warden, to the Head Teacher, think about the student and their daily journey through their day (especially for the students who have a rough day everyday).

Some schools change culture just by making micro changes to the environment the really small stuff, as the teaching is awesome and the pupils just don’t realise 😉

Remember why you do what you do, what made you take this journey into education?

Deep Breath, really feel it….

And remember every win, every result that led to your career.

YOU made it happen.

And you can again….


Nexus exists to help educators, this is my first blog post for them and I hope it’s useful.

Feel free to share best practice and to help me learn what makes you successful in the classroom so that I can make my skills achieve the next level.

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The author

Following a troubled time in his early teens, he almost made it to daytime Radio 1 before creating a “Plan B” business that left him with a short period of homelessness, serious emotional trauma and financial loss (almost 100k). He started a record label with a friend (and £10 from signing on) and within 4 years turned that into 4 albums, stadium shows, international radio play and used the success to pay off all his debt within 18 months to free himself in order to go to University. He later used the same skills to pay off all his student debt within 2 years of graduating. Setting up a community DJ school and taking back to the stage again to fund the next part of the journey. His business and production partner Damian passed away suddenly on tour in 2004, and Carl made the decision to hand all future royalties over to his family. And to walk away from chasing fame... Soon after he was recruited from a sales role within a major record label to become a Lecturer at Staffordshire University, teaching students how to survive on the rollercoaster of the music industry. Realising that many students were struggling with the pressures of studying, he qualified as a counsellor and joined the Universities trauma support team. 15 years later he realised he was being asked for his personal story and lessons learned, by more and more people. So he decided to leave the University and to create a set of shows to attempt to solve issues faced by young adults all over the UK. As a part of the research for the show he worked on the front line for 6 months, working for a mental health charity, gaining Safeguarding and Mental Health First Aid status along the way. He has also continued his work within the Radio industry helping create studios for another mental health charity. Alongside this he has spent the last decade as a go-to for various Motorsport teams, working with drivers to extract the best from themselves and their cars. This research was the basis of his MSc in Advanced Technology. Away from the stage, he is still obsessed with dance music and old VW’s.

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