Out on 09 June 2022

I Heard What You Said

Jeffrey Boakye

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09 June 2022
384 pages


Thought-provoking, witty and completely unafraid to call out some of the most pressing issues of our times, I Heard What You Said is a timely analysis of how we can dismantle racism in the classroom and do better by all our students.

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.

Through a series of eye-opening encounters based on the often challenging and sometimes outrageous things people have said to him or about him, Boakye reflects on what he has found out about the habits, presumptions, silences and distortions that black students and teachers experience, and which underpin British education.

'Hugely important'
Baroness Doreen Lawrence
'Makes a powerful case' Rt Hon Lady Hale
'Deeply compelling, intellectually rigorous and essential' Nels Abbey
'Personal and political, profound and playful' Darren Chetty
'Written with passion, fury, knowledge and, in spite of the painful subject, wit' Patrice Lawrence

I Heard What You Said makes a powerful case: until we have rid our educational system of its dominant whiteness (and, dare I say it, maleness) we cannot hope to give all our children (whatever their ethnicity or gender) the educational experience they need and deserve.

Rt Hon Lady Hale

This is the book I’ve been waiting for and the book every teacher should read. Brave, brutally honest, funny and necessary. Jeffery captures the Black teaching experience in such a powerful and potent way. The book of the year.

Ben Lindsay, CEO/Founder of Power The Fight and author of We Need To Talk About Race

This book is written with passion, fury, knowledge and, in spite of the painful subject, wit. Do you want to break down entrenched structural racism in schools? Then read this.

Patrice Lawrence MBE, prize-winning author of Orangeboy