A former teacher saw his "dream job" ruined after he was found guilty of sexually communicating with a 13-year-old girl.
Tyler Hickling, now 26, had been a teacher for two years and was working at a Nottinghamshire school when he became involved in an exchange of messages with the teenager in June 2017.
Hickling, of Peasehill Road, Ripley, denied a single charge of sexual communication with a child but was convicted after a trial.
Passing sentence at Lincoln Crown Court, Judge Stephen Coupland told Hickling it was a serious case but he could avoid an immediate jail sentence as he had lost his chosen career and was never likely to work as a teacher again.
The judge accepted there were no explicit photographs exchanged between Hickling and the girl but told him that his conduct was wrong for a teacher.
"At the time of this offence you had been a teacher for about two years", Judge Coupland said.
"The contact between the two of you became frequent and inappropriate," Judge Coupland added.
"You were the adult and had a responsibility to stop this."
Almas Ben-Aribia, mitigating, said Hickling had suffered the biggest punishment with the loss of his career.
References which were read out in court described Hickling as a "committed teacher" and "community minded."
"He was at the time a teacher having secured that role in his early 20s," Miss Ben-Aribia said.
"It is something he saw as his calling, and got his dream job at the age of 22."
Miss Ben-Aribia said Hickling knew his actions were wrong and now realised he should not have replied when the girl sought him out on Instagram.
"This was a short lived incident," Miss Ben-Aribia added. "He sent photos during a matter of days."
The court heard Hickling's contract as a teacher has been terminated and he had now secured a position in engineering after initially working as a volunteer.
Miss Ben-Aribia said Hickling was also engaged to be married and had been suffering from family bereavements at the time of the offence.
Hickling was sentenced to nine months imprisonment suspended for 12 months and must register as a sex offender for seven years.
He must also complete 150 hours of unpaid work in the community and ten rehabilitation days.