Avid about Ovid - or out of here?

18th March 2005 at 00:00
This is the time of year when most job changes take place. Find yourself in Jill Parkin's quiz and discover whether it's time to move on

1. Why do you read The TES Jobs pages so keenly every week? Don't say it's the cartoon on the cover: this is a serious quiz.

A Because I'm looking for something that might tempt miserable Martin from design and technology to take his circular saw and his spirit level elsewhere.

B. If I didn't read them I'd have to talk to my colleagues. I get enough of them on training days.

C. Makes me feel good - to know I don't have to work in fresh fields, challenging new start or build-a-vision schools. Their vision doesn't usually include my subject.

D. Because I want to move on and up. Between you and me, I'm looking for a post with management. A headship by 30, that's my aim.

2. Where do you see yourself in two years' time?

A. In the staffroom chair where you don't burn your elbow on the water heater every time you open The TES. I used to be young and enthusiastic, you know.

B. Somewhere else, anywhere else. If I'm still head of DT here, I'll slit my wrists with a spokeshave.

C. I'd like room T4 and Year 11 as a tutor group would be fun. I'll have set up a classics AS-level by then, too.

D. To be on the new national college course, leading from the lower rung.

I've been working on the application form all term.

3. What have you achieved in your present post?

A Great GCSEs in English last year; conservatory on the house. But failed to persuade the head to let me do something more exciting than The Importance of Being Earnest for the school play.

B. Three weeks off every winter; 15 minutes a fortnight talking to parents.

People who send their children to a school called Three Oaks all want a Mr Chips not a chippy.

C. Classics trip to Pompeii, although getting them out of the brothel took a while; new jazz club at lunchtimes; increased numbers at GCSE; great summer What the Romans Did For Us day; and next year I plan this Roman Christmas lunch - if we can just get hold of a peacock and 40 dormice!

D. Ah, yes. I knew this would come up. I've prepared a PowerPoint demonstration.

4.What's missing from your job?

A. Leadership. The head's been here too long. I have this recurrent dream where Brian goes berserk in the head's study with a bradawl. Lots of blood.

B. How long have you got?

C. Gosh. Tough one. I, Claudius on DVD might be good for the options talk I do at the end of Year 9.

D. Leadership. I need a chance to strut my stuff. The head's promised me an after-school club for next term, though.

5. What job would you have liked?

A. Can't think of another one - apart from being a playwright.

B. Lumberjack, scenery-maker, one of those people who make boats in bottles.

C. This one.

D. I don't think about the past. The future is mine. All mine!

6. What are your strengths?

A. This isn't a popular thing to say, but I love my subject - and I hate school politics. Kids? Oh, the kids are great.

B. Working with tensions, resistant materials and dovetail joints. Have you any idea of the infinite possibilities in a piece of teak, say about 12 by 16?

C. Well, somehow I always seem to get what I want. I think it's my enthusiasm, although my wife says it's because the head isn't really interested in the golden age of Athens and will say yes to anything.

D. Learning-centred values; the empowerment of others; and the principles and practice of earned autonomy. And lots of other stuff from the National Standards for Headteachers.

7. What do you look for from your career?

A. These days I'm pretty short-sighted: good results for the kids and a reasonable amount of satisfaction for me. It would be romantic to look for excitement.

B. A salary and long enough holidays to work on my subterranean extension.

C. To enthuse the pupils, give them another perspective on life and language. I'm quite keen to promote Ovid among the young, too, you know.

Avid about Ovid, in fact.

D. Everything. I'm completely focused. No distraction from family or anything messy.

8. How do you relax?

A. I write radio plays, actually. I've written one or two for the children, but the head is fixated with Lady Bracknell.

B. At school. And I trawl flea markets for antique tools. I found a great Stanley type three smooth plane with a two-part frog.

C. On-site with the local archaeology club. And, actually, I'm working on a new textbook for an underexploited. The working title is My Big Fat Greek Primer. What do you think?

D. With the National Standards for Headteachers, and the Jobs pages.

How did you score?

Mainly As

Do yourself a huge favour and move on. You need new surroundings before you drop dead of boredom. Don't be tempted into management - just get your passion back. Try Challenging Circumstances college down the road - you'll find management open to new ideas. And the DT chap could be really good with scenery.

Mainly Bs

For heaven's sake, why are you still there? OK, we know - the pension. You might never reach it and the way you behave no one would even know you'd died. Get out, get a job in post-16 where your students actually want to do the subject. Or, better still, set yourself up as a posh cabinetmaker. But whatever you do, give yourself and the kids a break. By the way, what is a spokeshave?

Mainly Cs

Oh, you are a joy. And if your enthusiasm keeps up, it may even be worth staying where you are. You have the right sort of students and the head just lets you get on with it. Don't ever change. But beware, the raunchy bits of Ovid could get you into all sorts of trouble.

Mainly Ds

Do you take those national standards to bed with you? Leadership is about people, not about management-speak. Think about your pupils for a few years; go to the pub; make friends with your colleagues. Right now they probably can't stand you, so move on in 2005 and make a resolution to be human. And then start thinking about the courses.

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