Human First: Northern Rocks 2017


Paul Dix makes me cry.

Both times I’ve sat in his workshop.

It's not his dodgy jokes.

It's that when he speaks, 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 in does something incredible. With authentic compassion, he entices slightly battle weary teachers to do what they came into teaching to do.

Make a difference.

Teachers 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 havoc!

It was all I knew how to do well.

It was the narrative reinforced by every adult in my life.

It was 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 learner whose name popped into you 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.

Author Profile

Jaz Ampaw-Farr

Jaz Ampaw-Farr

Mum of 3, Resilience Ninja, Literacy Consultant, passionate advocate of starting with WHY, Governor, fired by Lord Sugar!

42 stories


[Retired Colleague] [Retired Colleague] [Retired Colleague] 5 months ago
Great blogs about Northern Rocks. Looking forward to Pivotal training days next month.
Ed Finch Ed Finch @edfinch 5 months ago
I'd forgotten that interview was with Paul, it was staggering and beautiful. Thanks so much to Paul and Jaz for that.
I enjoyed the session at Northern Rocks hugely - would love to get Paul in to larkrise for staff training and WISH I'd been able to eighteen months ago, things would be looking very different now for some of our neediest pupils.
Bless you all. Xox
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