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Happy talk

Positive gossip can make all the difference, says Sara Bubb

One of the lovely things about special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries is that they prompt people to say nice things - things they feel all the time, but perhaps don't say enough. The same is true when something bad or unfair happens; people rally round to right the wrong and tell you how marvellous you are.

This is a real boost and we need to do it more often in staffrooms. We see the effect that praise and rewards have on children, but when it comes to adults we get a bit shy about telling people how fab they are. But if we cannot do it face to face, how about starting some positive gossip? Instead of joining in the bitching that goes on, say something nice behind someone's back. Things such as, "Did you see the way her class sat in assembly? Fantastic. How does she do it?" These kinds of conversations might lift the whole staffroom and make it a great place to be.

It is good to get recognition and to share it. Vanessa Ogden, headteacher of Mulberry School in east London, told me of the joy on a teacher's face when she got her rather fancy Chartered London Teacher certificate.

How about nominating someone for a Teaching Award? You've only got until midnight tomorrow to do so, but it takes very little time at www.teachingawards.com.

Rhoda Edwards, of Hitchin Girls' School in Hertfordshire, says: "Being nominated for an award was wonderful. The whole school felt valued and proud. Pupils, teachers, parents, governors; we all felt that someone had made a special effort to turn around and say 'Well done' - what a fantastic feeling."

Wouldn't it be lovely if someone nominated you? Yes, new teachers can win. There is a category called the Specialist Schools and Academics Trust Teaching Award for Outstanding New Teacher of the Year. Each of the UK's 14 regions has a winner and then there's an overall winner. Go on - go for gold.

Sara Bubb is an education consultant specialising in induction.

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