We’ve been collecting your stories about the inspiring and encouraging experiences you’ve had at work during 2008. Here is a collection of the teaching and learning themed responses you sent to the question, What has been your most positive experience at work this year?

“The pleasure of seeing young people enjoying their learning and all that school has to offer. I am leaving after 41 years teaching this Christmas and love my job as much now as I did when I started.”
– Teacher of History

“The teacher pupil relationship that encourage my Yr 11 Students to perform very well at GCSE. the Support from my Head of Department and other members of staff during the most stressful time of my teaching career.”
– Technology Teacher

“Children planting seeds in punnets in class then writing the procedure for planting seeds. This was a real hands-on process and the children had great pleasure in seeing their seeds grow. We also did a procedure for making jelly as we made the jelly. The children enjoyed eating it as well.”
– Classroom teacher

“A young boy in my class who has English as an additional Language; who has been struggling with his reading; who does not have much help at home, was able to blend a word together and read the word.”
– Class Teacher

“Persuading a student she was capable of doing the higher tier GCSE maths exam, watching her work her socks off and helping her achieve a fantastic grade.”
– Head of Maths

“For some years back I had long passionately to become a teacher. To accomplish my desire, I consulted my teacher friend who taught me the mode and mystery of teaching styles. While I was in the classroom teaching students, I got lost remembering that “this isn’t baby class”. I applied the format of children in the student class. Deep within me I need I was out of rail but good luck flashed on me as I recalled some tips on the teaching mail. It changed me teaching treks in classroom.”
– Music teacher

“This year saw the arrival of our first international student, who had no English at all. This proved a stressful and anxious time for staff but within a very short period of time the pupil began to acquire English and has just received the prize for most improved pupil at our recent prize night! Acting as a one on one tutor for him has been rewarding and inspiring as he was so keen and eager to learn. His never ending gratitude made teaching him a real pleasure.”
– Teacher of English and Teacher in charge of Induction

“Development of the outdoor learning environment; building of a bird hide and getting the Y6 children involved in a gardening club.”

“Our Core Learning coffee morning – parents and staff get to visit and help celebrate the achievements of our students.”
–  Head of Core Learning

“Yesterday a student who a colleague and I have been doing with in an extraction group over the last eight weeks said, “I don’t care if they (other students) don’t think I’m cool for doing my work. As we’ll see in a few years when they are at the Job Centre and I’ve got a nice job”.
– Lead Inclusion Mentor East

“Our students have been engaging in the most fantastic Enterprise event we have ever organised. During Enterprise week each class in our all age special school was given ten pounds to ‘invest’ in a product, service or competition. The engagement, healthy competition between groups, hard selling and shear enthusiasm across the school has been amazing. Economic well being in action!”
– Headteacher

“I agree that young people get a poor press and the overwhelming majority do not deserve this. I would simply like to say that the young people I teach here in Luton are a joy to work with. I love my English lessons with Years 9, 10 and 11. These young people are fun, funny, interesting and sympathetic.”
– Deputy Head and English teacher

“As part of teaching Year 6, I planned and delivered a really fun Maths lesson on capacity where the children had to find out approximately how much coffee I drank over a year! I took the lesson outside which was a great experience for the children. It was a fun, practical, real life activity. The children worked in mixed ability groups- which was very beneficial for my less able mathematicians. I assessed the children’s skills by taking photos and making notes on post-its about the children’s comments. Displayed this on my working wall in the classroom. The children talked about the lesson for days afterwards. The conclusion was that I drank far too much coffee! Can’t wait to take Maths outside again and show the children that Maths can be fun and exciting.”
– Deputy Head

“My most positive experience this year has to have been taking a class of Year 1 children to the Malvern Theatre to see the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Many of the children had never been inside a theatre or experienced a live performance before on such a grand scale. The sheer awe and wonder on the faces of the children will remain with me for a very long time. The show was inspirational in providing a stimulus for learning across many areas of the curriculum and its passion created a buzz in the classroom for many weeks following the show. The children chatted together about aspects of the show, that as an adult you may not have considered; they would gather in the playground singing the songs from Joseph and constantly chattering about the eyes that lit up with Pharoah, the cruelty of the brothers and the sheer wonder of colour and loud music. The whole experience was so inspirational and although the children were just 5 and 6 years of age, they were totally captivated throughout.”
– Primary School Teacher

“Differentiation using technology. I have a boy whose reading is at level 2. I scanned simplified copies of a book we are reading at the moment and converted the scanned pages to word document. Using “Read and Write 6”, a software that reads text, he was able to follow the story himself using the software. He was quite excited and interested in using the software to read. He started to read back sentences to me and the following day was more responsive to my instructions which used to be a struggle to get him to comply. So I am really pleased.”
– Teaching assistant

“Enthusiasm from some members of staff at getting interactive whiteboards installed.”
– Deputy Principal

“As part of the National Year of Reading, I arranged an author visit by Mrs Geseke Clark, who translated her elder sister’s diary of WWII from the point of view of a German teenager, and published it under the name “Hilke’s Diary”. I invited our History students from Yr 10 and our MFL students, but was a little concerned that the frail old German lady might find it a little difficult to make herself heard over a large group of teenagers. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They sat in total, rapt silence throughout Mrs Clark’s talk, and gave her a wonderful ovation and some flowers at the end. Many of them told me afterwards that the event had brought history to life for them, a sentiment confirmed by their teachers. They gave me back my faith in our youngsters – after all, they are our hope for the future!”
– Manager, Learning Resource Centre

“Being part of a great school, where the teachers can teach and the pupils learn. The pupils passed their exams with flying colours, what an achievement for all the teachers at the school and the pupils as they done the hard bit by retaining the information and putting it into words in their final exam. Being appreciated by the pupils and them thanking me, made be proud to be part of the Educational System.”
– Cover Supervisor

“As a Vice-Principal you can be caught at the end of Break by a pupil or member staff on the way to your class. On one such day this happened to me and my class who were lined up outside my room could see this. The Northern Ireland “Revised” Curriculum is opening up a plethora of new possibilities to our pupils and some of the characteristics would be to “take risks, make decisions, be flexible, be active and hands on” – the list is endless. Well! One pupil took the lead, entered my class in Spanish, took the greeting in Spanish, called the register in Spanish, had the class seated, books and equipment out in Spanish and to top it all she had looked at my “Learning Intentions” and when I walked in she was teaching the class using my flashcards in Spanish and was just about to play the flyswat game. I was amazed! Progressive learning or what!”
– Vice-Principal

“100% of a Year 11 NVQ all boys group getting C Grades in their Module Science exams and the fact, much more importantly, that they were proud of themselves for achieving it.”
– Assistant Head – Inclusion / Behaviour

“I have been working as a Nursery Nurse for the past nine and a half years in a Nursery School in Milan, Italy. I have observed, eight groups, of eight children aged three years come through my classroom every year. Each time I would see each one grow and develop their own personality. One particular child this year has stuck out in my mind and that was of a Brazilian child who was exposed to three languages. This child had enormous determination and drive in wanting to say certain words in English. It took this child almost the whole year to say “Good Morning” at our circle times. He would try so hard. Each day the words became clearer and clearer. Then one day towards the end of the school year he shouted out “Good Morning” and stood up and danced with delight, shaking his hands in the air. I was so overcome with emotion. This experience for me is something to be treasured.”
– Nursery Nurse

“Last week, the whole school took part in a creative week which culminated in a ‘free choice activity morning’ where children could choose from a menu of 27 different activities, some off-site. These activities were led on the whole by talented parents and community members and included, ‘cartoon drawings, t-shirt design, stone sculpturing, a drama workshop led by a current cast member of Blood Brothers, a sound and music technology workshop, trampoline, wall-climbing and Spanish. We are working towards the Go4it accreditation. Feedback from our children, staff and parents has been overwhelmingly positive.”
– Primary Headteacher

“Watching a group of students in year 10 and 11 growing as individuals through drama. They are all on the cope course and have embarked upon the BTEC first drama and are really enjoying. It has helped that a wonderful actor in residence called Mark Curtis has inspired vibrant creativity.”
– KS3 drama co-ordinator

“Working with the G and T year 5 students from the local Primary schools has been very rewarding. They are involved in a six week project, participating in a range of academic and artistic activities based on the theme, ‘My Olympic Village.’ It is such a pleasure to get up on a Saturday morning and to be greeted by 40 enthusiastic and keen learners.”
– G & T Coordinator

“Working with pupils to create radio adverts for Pizza companies using Podium – the motivation was fantastic and the finished adverts were superb”
– Head ICT

“A pupil working towards a level 3 NVQ was about to be signed off the course as she was not meeting targets, completing work and finding the assignments difficult to put together. I asked to work with the pupil as I completed her level 2 with her and am aware of her needs. I also believed she was capable of completing the level 3. This was in July and the pupil is about to complete on the 12/12/08. The pupil needed one on one time, discussion and strategies she could work to, which we planned together. We picked out key words from the text, made a list of points she wanted to talk about under each key word and broke the assignment down into achievable tasks. Once the pupil had completed her 5 assignments, had some excellent observations on her practice her confidence was on a high and she could see the end. I am very proud of her and the self belief she now has visible. The pupil comes from a disadvantaged background and has faced many set backs in life and she says she feels she is leading the way for her younger sisters and brothers whom she does a lot of caring for.”
– Trainer / assessor

“Working with a very perfectionist boy in my former school. He opened new ways for himself by taking challenges he was afraid of to take! It was a joy to watch him grow in self esteem and believing that he also, good make mistakes! There where many more great experiences in my school in the Netherlands. I basically loved to see children and teachers see possibilities where at first hand, didn’t seem to be one! The learning process is amazing to see!”
– Consultant/coordinator special needs

“Despite the pressure of SATs I had many wonderfully positive experiences with this class, mainly through the sheer joy of learning but our science assembly stands out as one of the best. The pupils groaned at the suggestion – until I told them their mission was to show the rest of the school how exciting science could be. We braved the potential wrath of cleaners and senior teachers and prepared an assembly of explosive and messy experiments. Many experiments went wrong but by then the pupils were masters at the art of talking their way out of disaster and explaining in true TV presenter style ‘what should have happened’. Of the experiments that went well we had rockets firing, snails racing magnet-propelled cars and whole toy villages submerged by erupting volcanoes and our master scientists explaining how everything worked as it happened! Despite the rocket shooting directly under the head teacher’s chair, the assembly was a roaring success with parents delighted at the pleasure their children (both those involved and those in the audience) had experienced while learning so much science. A proud moment indeed as well as a blessed relief!”
– Previously KS2 Class Teacher

“Seeing my Year 10 group approach Macbeth through using a crime scene and evidence and creating their own Crime Watch Scotland programme reporting on King Duncan’s death. They worked together as a team and were really respectful of each others’ work.”
– Assistant Headteacher

“When you see the impact that pupil-led enquiries have on pupil engagement and you identify “one of those TDA adverts” in your own lesson you realise, for a split-second, that education has such huge potential. It makes me want to empower our pupils more and more. They thrive with the challenge and demonstrate creativity that could never be put into a learning outcome (unless of course the outcome says “to have produced a solution to a problem using thoughtful consideration rather than following what the oldest person in the room has to say.”) All this from a P4C enquiry about dropping a marshmallow off the top of the Empire States Building.”
– Physics teacher

“The joy of seeing pupils learning – my Year 8s love learning about new things and we did a lesson on where Halloween came from. They loved learning about the history and we also looked at the Victorian Ghost story. They had to then tell some ghost stories themselves and we had a wonderful time. My year 10s are all extremely keen to do well and they encourage me to do even more for them. My under 12 Hockey team is the light of my life and they always try so hard for me and the team. I am so proud of them. Furthermore, the girls in my equestrian team are all so positive and caring. It is a real joy to teach them!”
– Teacher of English

“I was finding my bright but very noisy top set Year 11 class extremely frustrating. Why did they chat all lesson instead of really focusing on the work I had given them? I then observed a colleague teach, and saw a lesson where ALL the children did was talk, but so much learning was taking place! I decided to learn from her example, and created resources and activities for my class which involved group work and team problem solving, culminating in group presentations to the class. The class was full of chatter (as always) but now it was purposeful, and completely focused on learning. The students thoroughly enjoyed this series of lessons, and did far more independent learning than they had previously. I was really pleased too at what I had learned: harness and use the children’s natural tendencies, rather than battle them.”
– Assistant Headteacher

“As part of our work in the environment, we were invited to plant trees at Borras Millennium Eco Centre. The area used to be an airfield and is now a working quarry. Eventually this land will be a nature reserve and local schools have been planting trees on the site for several years. In March I took my class to the Eco-Centre and we were shown how to plant trees carefully and we were also shown how the park would look in 30 years time. The children were extremely enthusiastic and excited to be contributing not only to the environment, but to future generations. The children’s’ reactions filled me with a sense of hope and purpose. The experience was meaningful; it developed positive attitudes and developed a whole range of skills. A perfect day in the outdoor classroom! Back in the classroom, the children produced some of the best writing I have ever had the pleasure of reading.”
– Deputy Headteacher

“The smiles and laughter in my classroom from lots of pupils who have “got it” and understood it, even though they may not always be able to write it down.”
– Head of CPRE

“When I told my class that we would be using the Chinese myth story for them to act out for our Harvest Festival service it was a joy to see there positive reaction. They loved acting out the story, writing a script and painting props. It was great to see there enthusiasm and focus on the task.”
– Class 3 teacher

“While teaching a difficult year 8 bottom set I literally had them eating out of my hand when I used a chocolate cake to teach Pie Charts. They have still not forgotten that lesson!”
– Teaching Assistant

“Teaching literacy through riding bikes and scooters. The children were invited to bring in their bikes and scooters with helmets and stabilisers where necessary. We then took turns to ride around the playground then explain the instructions of how to start, keep going and stop to partners who then followed. The excitement and enjoyment was great to see and the leaflets produced subsequently were real for the children, who really loved the activity. It got the boys fired up and writing for a purpose!!”
– Deputy Head

“In September I was assigned to the lower ability group of pupils in a Year 3 class. We have adopted a new phonics programme so I was given specific spellings for the group rather than the high frequency words. At first I was annoyed that the pupils were expected to achieve a goal that was too difficult for them at that time. How wrong I was. The seven pupils have risen to the challenge and all are correctly spelling their 10 spellings every week! Words such as squirrel, queen and farmyard are confidently spelt to whoever will listen to them! Fantastic!”
– Higher Level Teaching Assistant

“In the light of current agendas in education we are, as I expect are most schools, receiving plenty of INSET training to refresh our teaching techniques and to ensure that all students are learning at appropriate levels. Colleagues are being encouraged to share good practice and it has been interesting to experiment with a variety of different ideas. Today I have just taught my GCSE Art group, and had a fantastic lesson trialling new tricks! – the positive enthusiastic feedback from these students will encourage me to continue to persevere”
– Year Curriculum Leader YR8&9 – Art teacher