Being unpopular made me tough as hell. I got used to incessant criticism, of myself and everything I did. It stopped bothering me to the same degree. When you are the class whipping girl, every aspect of your existence is a problem to someone. It taught me to pay attention to the misfits, the people on the fringe, the purple cows. After all, I was one of them. I still am.
Learning takes time, perseverance, effort and the knowledge that the learner has a right to be wrong, to make mistakes and to figure it out gradually. A learner's own imperfect answer which is the result of patience and reading is better than someone else's supposedly 'great' answer, acquired quickly online.
I'd advise other people who are looking for a rewarding career change to consider teaching - especially if you like working with young people, are interested in a subject area or are keen to find a career path with a wide range of opportunities. Teaching always has been and always will be my way of tackling those January blues, and it could be yours too.
These are indeed exciting times for the world of education, and for those who are seeking new ways to equip themselves with the skills they need to succeed at life. We owe it to the students of the future - those currently at school, or stuck in jobs dreaming of a better, more fulfilling career - to give them a true choice, and the ability to access educational excellence.
The perfect 'bicycle for the brain' is subtly different for everyone, of course. The advent of mobile has made it easier than ever before for people to learn in a time and way that suits their lifestyle. Memory works best when we give it a little to do often, while learning in different contexts makes your memory more robust because you don't associate information with any one place in particular.
If I ever needed confirmation that hard work pays off, last week I was informed that my television show "Down On The Farm", which I co-host with presenter Storm Huntley and is produced by BBC Scotland for CBeebies, has been nominated in the Best Children's Programme category for a Scottish BAFTA award...
The new school year has started. First day photos have been taken, schoolbags have grown heavy with new books, and the reality of homework and early morning alarm clocks is beginning to set in. The evenings are shortening and the papers are speculating about the chances of an Indian Summer. It's September again...
In Sierra Leone, fashion designer Jenneh Mason is best known for frocks and fashion shows. She also dreams of public playgrounds, lots of them, dotted all across the country bringing safe places to play for children who are unlikely to have ever seen one, imagined one or even understand the concept of safe play.