Tough choice to make over job

9th June 2006 at 01:00
It is appointment time. We have a post in my department. It should be exciting, deciding the shape and direction of something that is important to me. But I worry about Rob.

He is a good teacher. He has worked really hard filling a timetable on a temporary basis for the year. Now it is time to make it permanent. Rob desperately wants the job and we would be happy to work with him, but there are stronger candidates.

How relevant is the work he has done for us this year? He has made a big contribution. If I had a problem, Rob appeared and he solved it. It has to count for something. And this job is really important to him. He is a single parent and needs the job badly. I am part of a process that holds his fate in its hands.

I do want the best for him and he has my support, but the appointment has to be done fairly. There are other candidates who have a right to expect a transparent process. They have applied in good faith, have been preparing, perhaps have even more pressing needs. It is a strong field.

If these strangers had been working in the school for a couple of terms, they too might have done a good job - maybe even better than Rob. I don't know.

All we can do is make a judgement on what we see. And from the start we can see that Rob is having a bad day. He is consumed by nerves. He does not perform at all. His lesson is weak, he may as well talk Swahili in the interviews for all the sense he makes. He wants the job too much.

Another candidate, Andrew, is excellent. Relaxed, informed, confident, sharp. He is by far the best candidate. He will fit in well. If we did not know Rob, we would not hesitate. We have seen what he can do. But we can see what he is doing. And that is all the governors can see.

They wait to be guided. It isn't fair to expand his interview to include what he has done. That forms part of his reference. I wrestle with my obligations - loyalty, friendship, respect, gratitude. But Andrew was better.

Why go through the whole appointment process if it is already decided? We have to be professional. But it is easy to say, when there is a person here I know. We appoint Andrew. I say all the right things to Rob - about learning from the experience, moving on. But I feel bad. Not as bad as Rob though. I know where my money is coming from in September. He doesn't.

Ian Roe is a teacher in north Wales

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