I Heard What You Said (Paperback)
Published: 25th May 2023
Before Jeffrey Boakye was a black teacher, he was a black student. Which means he has spent a lifetime navigating places of learning that are white by default. Since training to teach, he has often been the only black teacher at school. At times seen as a role model, at others a source of curiosity, Boakye's is a journey of exploration - from the outside looking in.
In the groundbreaking I Heard What You Said, he recounts how it feels to be on the margins of the British education system. As a black, male teacher - an English teacher who has had to teach problematic texts - his very existence is a provocation to the status quo, giving him a unique perspective on the UK's classrooms.
Told through a series of eye-opening encounters based on the often challenging and sometimes outrageous things people have said to him or about him - from 'Can you rap?' and 'Have you been in prison?' to 'Stephen who?' - Boakye reflects with passion and wit on what he has found out about the presumptions, silences and distortions that underpin the experience of black students and teachers.