I’m weary of interviews,
permanently tense, on edge , crunchy shoulders,
learning off the syllabi and buzz words,
AfL and AoL , differentiation and consolidation,
the blurb style evangelical mission statements, brochures,
WSE reports and policies,
replete with spelling errors and broken links.
Sitting in my suit, ‘Are you a receptionist?’, the taxi driver asked.
I laughed. Not that reception-ing isn’t a noble profession, it’s just very different to teaching; the moulding of minds, facilitating, scaffolding etc. developing the student as a person (as opposed to a carrot or some other root vegetable).
I mentally pick off the competition to compensate for my lack of experience;
1) Female, too giggly, her blouse is too small/boobs are too big so there are gaping buttons with a bra peeping through. Very giggly and perky. Unprofessional.
2) Male. Looks about twelve and terrified. Doe-eyed. Has to clear his throat to speak. I don’t reassure him but give him some idea of what to expect. How would you teach the Leaving Cert? – how generous of me.
Oh, yes, FYI : It would be tremendously helpful if schools actually bothered to specify what level and subjects you would be teaching should you somehow miraculously manage to attain the post.
Unfortunately it seems that many have yet to realise this novel concept of actually providing a useful job description, instead preferring to espouse a lovely vagueness which forces me to spend hours trawling through all of the literature.
The old system,
The new system,
What texts? What modes? What poets?
Then a little LCVP,
Before finishing on Resource teaching and all its many trendy anagrams,
just in case.
Some interviewers hazard the suggestion that I would teach subjects other than those which I have multiple degrees in.
I try in vain to recall Junior Certificate History but all that has stuck is
stratigraphy, the Renaissance and Vikings. Sure who needs Irish history?
“Do you have a strong faith?”
“You don’t have P.E.?”
“How would you feel about teaching computers?”
Erm, well, not great, as I have no qualifications in that area as you can see clearly in each of the four copies of my CV, the 10 page application form and degree parchments which you required me to print out and post to you.
Oh I see that you’re a paperless, digital e-school, that’s so groovy, oh and I saw on your website that you have just attained your first green flag, congratulations!
Another rejection letter arrives.
Convalescent on my ever-expanding cottage cheese arse,
the cramming resumes.
I wade through the six key skills, must not forget literacy and numeracy
Oh no ! God forbid!
Dawdle in the 24 statements of learning – I learn off those I deem most relevant in mortal fear of being quizzed:
“so what is learning statement number 12 and how would you apply it in your lessons?”
Would they do that?
Dear Jebus! Help me Superman!
In interviews I sit and smile and overwhelm with practical examples,
spew the jargon, sell myself as Mammy has instructed and sit and peer at stern faces,
their blinking eyes
and stare back.
Some shrivel and shrink and I feel a sense of glee,
and I smile when they are taking notes.
The odd pop quiz on some irrelevant trivia, unfortunately too successfully compartmentalised in sector 7B, (along with Pythagoras and Wordsworth) leaves me reeling, crushed in my ignorance.
The sadness, the frustration and disappointment in my eyes, I can almost see it. My face drops and they cut me off. I tread water and push out some feeble examples,
I want to shout out :
Where’s a life buoy?
“Higher Order Thinking!”
But I can’t find an opening.
The smiling priest,
the quivering woman,
the balding shrinking violet,
the secret service man.
They thank me and shake my hand, limp as dead fish,
send me on my way.
I leave, most likely never to see any of them again.
Despite this bitter ending, I generally say , “it went well” or “ok’” when prompted.
At the end of the day I’ll probably be told what I was last year:
“Not enough experience.”
It’s my own fault for not being born sooner,
and choosing to pursue courses I enjoyed.
Guess I‘ll just have to wait
for the supposed backlog of crones to leave or shuffle off,
or return to England
and that anxiety disorder
I managed to pick up.