One of the rewards of helping to track global education over the past decade has been watching progress in getting more girls into school. But as we mark International Women's Day, I'm more conscious than ever that the glass is still not even half full: 31 million girls have never set foot inside a classroom, and half of them are unlikely ever to do so.
Six episodes later, 16 months into teaching and although I'm still exhausted, I'm perpetually rewarded by the incredible students that I'm fortunate enough to teach and learn from. There are moments where students tell me to "go write a song about it in the bathroom", but on the whole, I'm happily rebranded as the Marilyn Gandhi-loving, red chino-donning, Inbetweener-impersonating, over-zealous, Scottish, eccentric teacher.
In Year 10, I didn't have one English teacher; I had six - a new supply teacher for each half term. I remember asking myself why it was that nobody wanted to stay at our school, but looking around me it wasn't that difficult to see why. Our school building was old and crumbling, we were oversubscribed, and classes were packed.
You have to believe that you can do it - you were chosen for this job, you have what it takes and you are learning more and more every day - so you have to carry that belief with you all the time. I'm not saying it's easy - in fact it's exhausting - but if you don't believe in you then how can you expect your students to?
From teachers, carers, nurses and doctors, street sweepers, sales assistants and the like, working in service is an exchange of energy as old as civilisation. Serving one another in some way is a natural human instinct that we all have inside of us and can deliver on daily basis through our individual talents.
It's important to point out that this is a huge generalisation and, of course, there were/are exceptions to the rule. However, I think, overall, the gap is not an educational one - or level of smartness even - but rather one of attitude. As long as that factor remains, the UK hasn't got a hope in hell of climbing the table, never mind becoming number one.
Education is a process of providing structured information. It is accessible to every child for free in the developed world, so much so that it's almost taken for granted. The developing worlds are still striving to gain easily attainable education systems like ours, because education is seen as a platform whereby children can greaten themselves.
I have learned a tremendous amount since training to be a coach and being a coach. I have learned a lot about me in the process. I learned so much about myself that I didn't know, or if I did know I was not aware of it. A lot had been stuffed down inside somewhere, and I have managed to excavate and find it.