Learning is a messy business. For all the wonderful educational research and the tomes of advice that have been written, for all that we are learning about neuroscience and the adolescent brain, that opening aphorism remains true and teaching remains an art rather than a science. Clearly, in general, research and experience show some pedagogical approaches work better than others, but in the end so much depends on the character, knowledge and skills of the teacher and their particular relationship with the specific individual and groups of pupils or students with which they interact, each of whom will bring a range of attitudes, emotions, experience, knowledge and motivation to any lesson. Relationships are critical and there are no guarantees. What ‘works’ in one lesson may not work in the same way or at all in another; what appears to help or clarify for one student may not for their neighbour.