Thank God it's Friday

23rd May 2003 at 01:00
Monday I find it hard to concentrate on numeracy as the school where I'm chair of governors selects a new head this week. The process has been going on for 11 months - we had to re-advertise - and I can't believe it will soon be over. It's keeping me awake at night.

Tuesday I'm teaching (numeracy again) when another candidate rings to withdraw from tomorrow's interview. That makes two out of an original four.

What if there is no one left? What if we have to go through the whole thing again? I keep thinking of all the awful things that can go wrong. Another sleepless night.

Wednesday I'm so nervous that I find it hard to speak and breathe. Once we get started, the process of selection comes to life. It's fascinating to watch two excellent candidates thinking on their feet and dealing with the challenges of a head's life. They tour the school with pupils, followed by tea and biscuits with staff and governors. The school looks beautiful, the children are angelic, the biscuits are chocolate, the staff are charming and the governors are on their best behaviour.

Thursday Presentation and interview. It goes fairly smoothly except for an interruption when the owners of the house next door threaten to call the police to tow away a governor's car. The candidates' answers give me lots of ideas about the school's future and I find myself looking forward to September. Both are impressive, but we finally choose one. The worst part is telling the unsuccessful candidate.

Friday I'm back teaching in my own school and find that a classroom floor collapsed while I was away, so I'll be teaching in the hall until further notice. Normal life is back.

Katharine Bultitude teaches part-time and is chair of governors at two different Cambridgeshire primary schools

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