Those unforgettable days in education

17th November 2000 at 00:00
BRUCE DOUGLAS, principal of Branston Community College, Lincoln "I began my career studying for a PhD in philosophy, but I didn't finish it. After a year I realised I didn't want to spend my life at university. I liked the environment, but students didn't need teachers in the same sense at a university. As a teacher, I wouldn't have had such an obvious and immediate impact.

I'd always wanted to be a teacher from the earliest I can remember. My father was a headteacher.

I started in Leeds as an English teacher and I went from a secondary modern to teaching at Leeds Grammar school, from one end of the spectrum to the other.

In one interview I was faced with 11 or 12 people in a long row, all representing various things. They just went through asking me one question at a time. It seemed very inhuman.

That was a long time ago and maybe that doesn't happen s much nowadays.

Today I give this advice if anybody asks me: at job interviews you can never tell what their precise situation is. You don't know whether they're looking to recruit a Rottweiler or a diplomat. So you should be yourself, be 100 per cent yourself at an interview. That's the advice I give. Go for it. Otherwise you're lying to yourself. You don't want to go somewhere you're not right for.

At the same time, there's no such thing as too much preparation. So my advice is prepare, prepare, prepare.

I used to think of every question I could and put them all in a hat, take them out and answer them so that I knew all the angles.

I've still got something of the philosopher ingrained in me. And I do like people with a philosophy. As an interviewer I like to see people who have values and who know why they have them."

Martin Whittaker


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