Skip to main content

Best of times, worst of times

PAMELA ILES Head of St Dunstans Community School, Glastonbury, Somerset 'My mother was a teacher and I'd spent a long time resisting the thought that I might like to teach. But eventually I came to the conclusion that that was actually what I wanted to do.

I finished my education and I was three days too young to do my teacher training, so had to wait a year. I did temporary office work, then went out to the Channel Islands, then did volunteer work. I also worked in a factory. I decided I would try and experience different types of work to get some experience of life.

I trained for middle school and did my teaching practices in primaries. I was looking for a job in 1976-7. Then the job situation was the complete opposite of now: people were writing back saying we've had 100 applications, sorry. Finally I got a job teaching religious education at a secondary school.

Interviews can be very constructiv. I was interviewed for a deputy headship at a grammar school and they took a long time to choose between me and their internal candidate. They chose the other candidate, but gave me this incredible debrief, saying I had a lot of potential, that it had been a difficult decision. I went away feeling buoyed up. The next day I had an interview at my own school and, because that experience gave me confidence, I got the job.

Being interviewed is like being tested. Often in an interview you find things in yourself that you don't necessarily know are there. For me it's a growing process by which you develop your career.

So I think getting a good debrief is essential. It can be painful to ask "Why didn't I get the job? What did you think about me?" But I would advise anybody to do it because you often hear very positive things about yourself and you'll sometimes think "I could easily put that right."


Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you