Wednesday 18 October 2017

Hopefuls should know it makes no difference how great you areat the job

E Grade

At this time of the year freshly qualified teachers, confident they have passed their Professional Diploma in Education, will be pressing their CVs into expensive little folders, dropping them into big white envelopes, buying stamps and crossing their fingers as they mail them.

Amongst the hopefuls will be plenty of young men and women who have already spent a year or more teaching in a school that they hope will invite them back again next year. With our education recruitment policy now modelled on pubs and takeaways (i.e. fire anyone getting too comfortable and get in cheaper more desperate replacements) it makes no difference how brilliant a job the teacher has been doing.

Take Sinead, who arrived at our place last August on a one-year contract to teach science to our wild bunch. Finding herself facing Dean O'Thugarty, poor Sinead, beautiful long blonde hair, cute Mayo accent and an angelic face, seemed to be living out the part of Princess Giselle, played by Amy Adams in the classic Disney film 'Enchanted', where a young innocent fairytale princess finds herself transported to the real-life dog-eat-dog world of New York City.

Many is the time Sweet Sinead must have wished she'd had a magic wand to silence the crude remarks and threats.

As it turned out, Sinead was well up to the task, worked very hard and showed she could handle whatever the kids threw at her.

Our school would be crazy not to offer her a permanent contract although a job in her home county must be what she is praying for.

Admittedly I still feel bitter about the first few years of my teaching career when I prostrated myself in front of interview boards all over this island.

Most of my applications went unanswered, but when I did get one I was put in front of a modern equivalent of the Star Chamber and torn apart by 10 Stasi-trained interrogators.

I left the interview feeling useless and contemptible. I should have known that the post was already filled.

While waiting to be called in, a pretty young woman, all smiles and 'hi everyones' literally danced into the room, radiating the kind of confidence and heightened self-esteem that can only signify a foregone conclusion.

I was married with a kid and would have offered to clean the homes of every member of that interview board for the next decade if they'd have given me a chance, yet a year later I heard that their golden girl didn't like the job and had quit to travel the world.

In the end I wondered whether schools care if you are honest, married, need a job, actually like kids and might have some experience of what it's like to be a parent.

I rewrote my CV, throwing in three extra subjects that I felt I could teach reasonably competently to go along with the two from my degree and eventually got a job where all they wanted was to complete the timetable.

Irish Independent

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