(This page is common to Item 100 in my list of  "100 Things to See and Do Before You Die", and to my attendance at Dronfield Junior School as a Voluntary Assistant Teacher).

Note: It has been written in a mixture of tenses, Present  and Past tense ( mostly Past tense).

If I hadn't followed my chosen career at British Telecom (previously Post Office Telephones) my second choice would have been teaching.

I often wondered if I would have enjoyed a teaching job as much as I enjoyed working for BT.

It wasn't until 2008 that I learned the answer.

I wrote to three Dronfield schools and asked if I could be a voluntary teaching assistant. Two of them accepted, Dronfield Junior and Northfield Junior Schools. After a full enhanced police check I attended two half days at the two schools.


At Northfield my role was to move round several classes and assist in a variety of subjects: Maths, English, Art, Science and even Needlework and swimming. My stay there was interesting but not as rewarding as Dronfield Junior, so I left after 18 months.


My other school, Dronfield Junior, was much more to my liking. I was placed with the ICT teacher, Mr Alan Gordon and we became good friends. I get so much satisfaction and fun helping out there that I can now truly say I would have equally enjoyed a teaching career.


In 2009/10 Mr Gordon's role changed from a dedicated ICT teacher to one where he had his own class and where he would teach the full curriculum. I stayed with him but helping out mainly with Maths and English                 CLICK HERE TO SEE ALAN


Dronfield Junior is a highly respected school not least because the Headmaster, Mr Anderson, and his staff are very competent.

On 24th July 2010 Mr Anderson retired from Dronfield School.                CLICK HERE TO SEE PHOTOS


                                                                 Although my attendance at this  school was purely voluntary I received recognition with free trips on school outings where I would help supervise the children. Such trips included:







EDEN CAMP WAR MUSEUM at Malton. North Yorkshire.                  KELHAM ISLAND, Industrial Museum in Sheffield.             BISHOP's HOUSE, built 1500 Lees Hall                            We visited out-of- season

My work at this school consisted mainly of support to the qualified teacher. Sometimes I was given an individual table of 6 pupils where I would ensure that they had fully understood the content of a lesson and that they were able to undertake a subsequent exercise. At other times I would circulate all tables correcting spelling, grammar and giving general guidance for work improvement.


When the new Headmaster, Mr Finch, arrived he gave me a new role. As my enhanced police check allowed me to be with children on my own he arranged for me to take two groups of six children for a 20 minutes special tuition in a separate room in the Caretaker's building. These twelve children were the most intelligent in Year Four and Mr Finch's motive was to ensure they were not held back by less-able pupils. I was to push them to their limit in their knowledge of Literacy, vocabulary, grammar etc. To accomplish this I would devise my own exercises supplemented by Work Sheets I found on the Internet but for pupils  in Year 5  and above.




  These assemblies of about 20 minutes in duration are held most days and have various topics. Sometimes a story is read whilst at other times special occasions or remembrance days are discussed. I asked if I could preside at some of these assemblies and permission was given. At my first, I read the Uncle Remus story called "Brer Rabbit and the Briar Patch" which was greatly enjoyed by the children. At another assembly I gave a presentation on Holidaying in the USA and at a third I took into school my coin-collection and explained pre decimal currency.



On another occasion, just before the summer holidays, Mr Gordon allowed me to do a Powerpoint presentation to his class. Its title was " How electricity is generated" and included many practical demonstrations. I had rigged up a hand drill to turn a magnet adjacent to a coil of wire which generated enough electricity to light a bulb thus demonstrating Faraday's law of electro mechanical induction.














In 2014 Alan Gordon took early retirement and became a Supply Teacher, a couple of days a week, at Dronfield  and Northfield schools. Soon after he worked solely at Northfield. I continued going in to Dronfield Junior and had a short spell assisting another male teacher Mr Hands. In 2015 I was feeling a little unsettled with my role there until a female teacher, Emma Genders, gave me the opportunity to assist in her Year 4  class.


I have no  photo of her to show here, other than a group photo so I'll cut a section out of that one:

Mrs Genders is in the centre.









By now, Mr Finch had moved on to conquer new and greater challenges, his place being taken by the Deputy Head, Mrs Nicola Thomson.

I wasn't sure how assisting a lady-teacher would work out. I needn't have worried; the lady's friendly and dedicated nature soon put me at ease and she made me feel part of the class. This, in turn, influenced the children who made me feel welcome and appreciated. There is nothing quite like walking through Dronfield's parks, streets and shops and hearing a young voice shout " Hello! Mr Jackson."


A few weeks before the children were due to break up for the 2016 summer holidays I noticed they were doing a project on North America. I informed Mrs Genders that I had visited all the places they were writing about and she asked me if I would like to pass on my experiences to the children. I put together  a video called " Flight across America" and Powerpoint presentation, "Holidaying in the USA":









There were three Year 4 classes and over a hundred of them were seated in just one classroom to see and hear my presentation. It lasted most of the afternoon and was thoroughly enjoyed by the children and their teachers. I knew they had taken notes but when I went in to school the day before they broke up I wasn't expecting what they had prepared for me. One of the pupils handed be a small present and accompanying note. This alone was more than enough to bring a tear to my eye.










But there was more MUCH MORE. Mrs Genders had asked each pupil in her class to use the notes they had taken at my talk and produce a poster. All 32 posters were assembled in an album and given to me to keep.

I was amazed at the time and effort they must have put into their tasks. As an additional thank you I have copied every single one of the posters and displayed them on this page. I literally bombarded them with hundreds of facts and figures so they can be forgiven for the odd mistake.

To sum up, this term has been the most enjoyable and rewarding for me in my entire eight years at this school. My sincere thanks goes to Mrs Genders and everyone in her Year 4 class.

Finally, I must relate and mention one other person who has contributed to making this last term so memorable for me and that's Mrs Genders daughter.  Mrs Genders brings her Year 3 daughter into our classroom around 8-30am to wait there until her own class begins at 9am.




I quickly set up a rapport with the young girl, practicing her current spelling list. Not that she needed much help, her spelling ability is nothing short of phenomenal. She is by far the best speller, for her age, I have ever encountered. To ensure that this short time was not wasted before the bell rang I gave her a little private tuition in various subjects. I would endeavour to do this in a way that she felt it was fun to learn rather than a burden.


Here are the posters made by the children, I will treasure them.

To protect their identity the names of the children have been removed. 























































































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