Thank God it's Friday

7th February 1997 at 00:00
Monday: Arrive to half-empty car park. The flu epidemic must be biting. This is confirmed by the cover list, but as I have no free lessons to lose, I am relatively unconcerned. I teach depleted classes, my voice drowned sometimes by dramatic sneezing and coughing. By break, several more members of staff have succumbed. Teach sixth-form French literature - an oasis of calm and everyone present.


The car park is still half empty. My free periods disappear in cover lessons, all at opposite ends of the school. The head informs me that, yet again, next year we will not be running A-level German, having ceded this to our partner school. I remind him that I have kept it alive by teaching at lunch-times and giving up free periods. He smiles, so I remind him that none of my candidates scored less than a B. He finds urgent business elsewhere.


No free periods, so I don't stop to count cars. Late, anyway, because of fog. Breathless, I arrive for a tutorial with one of my sixth-form tutor group. She does not want to go to university, she has no idea what she wants to do after leaving school, except get a job. I promise to write a reference and made an appointment for her to see the careers lady.

Teaching begins with relative bliss: Year 9 German, Set 1. They started German in September and are gobbling up the new language like hungry nestlings. There is another Set 1 lesson in the second period, so I cover the same material. Interestingly, each group covers same amount of work, but in very different ways.


At 5.45am I board the London train. Arrive at interview with time to spare. No sign of other candidates, but I didn't expect to meet them as the post is in commerce, not teaching.

Am greeted by a charming woman from personnel and sail through the morning, feeling relaxed. I probably won't get the job, but as it's a part-time post and I really need full-time employment, I am not too concerned.

I emerge at midday. My train does not leave for another two hours, so I decide to find lunch - a delicious, inexpensive pizza. Then I treat myself to half-an-hour in a bookshop, and catch the train home.


Back to the grindstone. Everyone is curious about yesterday's interview. I explain that there's no decision yet, but that I had "lovely day out!" Perhaps it wasn't a tactful remark, but friends are quick to empathise.

Later in the morning the head asks to see me. He does not seem too interested in yesterday, merely wishes to let me know that my application for the vacant deputy head of sixth form has not been successful. So now we have no women in senior management.

At precisely 3.40pm the modern languages telephone rings. It's for me. Astonished, I listen to the offer of the job resulting from yesterday's interview. Without a moment's hesitation, I accept.

Christine Tinsley writes under a pseudonym. She is a teacher in a Dorset comprehensive

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