Diary of a jobseeker No4

June 12th 2008
Today I had a phone call from a school inviting me for an interview on Monday! I feel a little apprehensive as it’s a middle school and I am more used to working in a primary school.  They’ll be emailing the interview task over to me.  I hope it’s something nice! 

June 13th 2008
Aargh! It is an algebra related numeracy lesson to a year 5 class. I trawl the internet for ideas but I’m struggling on how to even introduce this to the class.  How can you teach something you don’t really understand yourself?

June 21st 2008
I spent most of this weekend trying to find a simple way to teach the algebra related task, but I’m not sure that there is. Still, I manage to get my interview outfit organised.

Monday 23rd June 2008
I arrive at the school and in front of me is a huge building which looks like a country house with a beautiful entrance lined with perfectly trimmed trees. As I step into the foyer, big green leather sofas line the walls and a full-to-bursting trophy cabinet sits opposite us. Joining me on the sofa are eight other applicants for the job.

Fantastic!  I am going to be the first in to teach. I am welcomed into the classroom and made to feel at home by the current post holder. I’m not feeling quite so bad anymore and I launch into the lesson.

It doesn’t go too badly. I give the children their own coins to experiment with, and explain my algebra method. The high ability children seem to be with me. But when it comes to independent working time, hands start to go up. A lot of hands.  I’m just starting to worry when the woman who is observing my lesson takes a group, and I float around the rest of the class, giving hints, tips and trying to look calm and composed. All the while I’m aware that a lot of the children are finding this difficult and I’m finding it hard to keep up and explain everything! The high ability children tell me they’ve finished so I check their work and find that it’s all correct. I must have done something right. I then give them a further challenge which I think will push them further, whilst I help the lower ability children to catch up. The children are very well behaved, I almost can’t believe how quiet and polite they are.  By the end of the lesson, I’m feeling relieved; nothing went too badly wrong!

A school tour follows and I see three ICT suites, a planned sports hall and a fantastic design and technology room.  I am absolutely entranced by this school and really want this job.  The facilities, children and staff are amazing! 

It’s lunchtime. The head and the interview panel sit up on the stage in the dinner hall overlooking everyone.  Joining them is the eighth applicant!   None of us can quite believe her audacity… and all are a tiny bit jealous and wishing we’d had the nerve to do that!

After lunch I have my interview and I start to get butterflies.  I’m welcomed into the room and offered tea and biscuits.  The interview is fantastic. I feel as though I’m chatting with old friends. None of the questions are particularly difficult, but I do laugh when I’m asked what I think of teachers with tattoos.  Other questions include how I would improve reading levels, what clothes do I think are appropriate for work, how would I ensure the new year 5s entry to the school is smooth in September and lots of other questions.

I leave the school feeling absolutely delighted, I want to skip down the picturesque drive and sing and dance like someone out of the Sound of Music

Four hours later

I have just received the phone call. The head thanked me for coming and apologised for the long wait but this was because there had been a heated debate about whom to offer the job.  It was between me and another candidate.   He said I was a fantastic teacher and would be an asset to the school, he thought that I came across very well in the interview too. Eventually he says “I’m so sorry, but we offered the job to the other applicant…. We thought she’d fit in better in the staffroom.” I’m actually so shocked that I tell him that I’m incredibly sad and I loved the school. I have to say, he sounds regretful too.  I thanked him for a lovely day and hang up.

I admit, I burst into tears. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe the reason they’ve given me, or that I didn’t get it when I wanted it so badly I suppose I have to look at this as a great experience and move on to the next one. But I can’t help feeling like I’ve missed out on something very special.

Ellie is phenomenally busy with supply work and continues in her quest to secure a teaching post.

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