Education saved us. With funding from a Canadian government training program, my mother enrolled in a computer programming class. She had been raising my sister and me with money earned from odd jobs, but knew it wouldn't be enough.
With more than half of secondary schools now academies or free schools: independent of local authorities and accountable to the Secretary of State, the role of councils in organising school admissions has become more and more unclear.
Once again Michael Gove has not thought this through, how on earth can you force teenagers, especially those that are clearly not schools swots to attend extra lessons? A lot of the time those that fail are the kids that do not want to be in school, do not pay attention and don't do the work.
Everything about the experience was amazing and so different from life in England. The best parts for me were teaching and spending time with the children as it was very rewarding. Travelling at the weekend was amazing as I was able to see such things as waterfalls, national parks and tame crocodiles.
Both teachers nurtured their classes, and like Mrs Oldman did with me, they pushed the children to do their best, not to vie with each other, but to want to achieve their utmost. It's not been about showing off, but about showing yourself what you are capable of.
Why should blagging be seen as something negative? Blagging is thinking on your feet. Cheekiness is doing it with a bit of charm and an element of dishonesty is always present in business - only the most naive would lay all their cards on the table. So why on earth would some women wish to distance themselves from blagging?
The NAHT have just announced publicly their support for the No More Page 3 campaign, an acknowledgement of the harm caused to young people by the public visibility of Page 3 images from those on the frontline.
Over the last three years the Coalition Government has mounted savage attacks on teachers' pay, pensions and conditions of service. To justify these attacks and education reforms, the Secretary of State has sought to denigrate teachers and present our public education system as broken. As a result the teaching profession is now in crisis.
The witch-hunt against people who dare to disagree with gay marriage is well underway, even though the legislation has yet to clear parliament. Put aside for a moment whether you agree or disagree with gay marriage, surely no sensible person wants this sort of 'marriage McCarthyism' in an open democratic society.
Gove and his department must take a serious look at their policies to prevent such cases passing through the net.
Karen Morehouse has taught English at Huntington Beach High School for nearly 40 years. In a room overlooking the main street of a southern California town she works magic, imbuing lessons in Shakespeare and grammar and the five-paragraph essay with compassion and infectious enthusiasm.
Now that the arts have safely returned to the classroom, we need to ensure they are utilised as much as possible, across all subjects in the curriculum. we have seen that using the arts in the classroom helps nurture children's communication and language skills, analysis and teamwork.
Inspirational, quality teaching is one of the topics I present to the UK's department of education along with cyber bullying, raising standards, bringing programming and code into the curriculum, academies, the rise of male teachers and more.
Many moons ago, when I was a student, there was a real sense of expectation around students who achieved those elusive top grades at A-Level. If you didn't think it was for you, you were still pushed to place an application to Oxford or Cambridge, especially if, like me, you were more a minority ethnic background.
In an effort to get out of the house and away from the blood vessel popping effort to keep my mouth shut, I recently went to hear the wunderkind of modern education speak at Portcullis House. In case you are old and backward like me, his name is Salman Khan.
I think if teachers had just one opportunity to stand up to the nation and give advice to parents, they would probably all say very similar things. So, in the spirit of sharing and dispelling the awkwardness and to start a dialogue, this is what I want to say to parents.