Those unforgettable days in education

3rd November 2000 at 00:00
Doris Hutchieson, headteacher of Coleraine High school and High Sheriff of County Londonderry

"After I graduated from university, the opportunity of a job arose at my former school. I regarded it as a tremendous honour to get the chance to possibly teach there.

About a week before the interview I had an ultimatum from my boyfriend. He was keen that we should get engaged but I wasn't very sure. We broke up. I was very hurt: I even went off my food. Anyone who knows me knows that that is unheard of.

In the process I completely forgot about the job interview. At 7 o'clock on the evening of my interview, my mother said 'Aren't you going?' The interview was at 7.30pm. All hell broke loose. Part of my interview was with my former headmistress and I couldn't be late for that.

I made it just in time and I was appointed, though to this day I don't remember a thing about the interview.

My oyfriend and I mended our relationship - he has been my husband for 31 years.

My next big interview was for this headship. I came for my interview with the board of governors and a meal had been arranged as an ice-breaker. I felt I had no chance of getting this job. The other candidates were so well qualified: I was just a senior teacher.

I was so relaxed because I knew there were so many better people there, I wasn't presuming I was going to get the job.

The meal was lovely. I remember sitting next to a prominent cleric, who shall be nameless. He had a sweet tooth and decided he would like another helping of dessert. He said it might not look good a cleric getting a second helping, so I got it for him. I think it helped me - he was on the interview panel.

Or perhaps it was not pinning too many hopes on the job. Maybe being relaxed allows people to see another side to you."

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