Skip to main content

Best of times, worst of times

Catherine Lawson, Headteacher Hexthorpe primary school Doncaster

I left teacher training college in 1963 and just drifted into my first teaching post in my local parish. It was a very gentle and calm induction period - I managed to escape job interviews.

By the 1970s, I was married with two children. The local head came knocking on my door and said: "I believe you're a teacher - we're really short of staffI will you come and work in my school?"

It seems very strange looking back because my first interview wasn't until 1980, for a senior management post in a very large primary school.

It was nothing like the interviews we have today. People asked personal questions: I remember being asked what I was reading at the time and what kind of music Iliked?

I got that job and enjoyed themanagerial experience. A few years later I got a phone call from the LEA asking if I'd like to be an advisory teacher. I spent two years trying to interest teachers in a new phenomenon called the national curriculum.

One of the schools I visited really appealed to me. I liked working there with the children and I found the staff friendly, optimistic and energised. The head retired and one teacher suggested I apply. And I thought: "Why not?" It's the only headship I've ever applied for. I got the job and have been here since 1989.

In my application I made it very plain that I'd chosen this school because I particularly liked it. I said I felt I could make a difference here. I felt I knew the school and knew the community. It just felt right for me.

Now when I interview candidates, I like people who show they've got a commitment towards their ownprofessional development. But I also appreciate those who have taken the trouble to seek information about the school and show this is where they want to work. If you're really serious about a job, you must showcommitment and enthusiasm.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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