I find myself in the position of selling myself, or more precisely, promoting my worth as a future employee/teacher to a prospective employer. It’s been a while – 5 years in fact – and I’ve sat on the opposite side of the equation (and the desk) quite a few times, interviewing applicants for positions at my previous school.
You forget what a harrowing experience it is. Although you know yourself and your craft well, producing The statement, at The right time when being interviewed is often by pure luck or even a ‘fluke’. I’m sure people will disagree with me but for me, this is how it works. I look over my philosophical statements, I prepare by rereading notes from my favourite education professional development, I project myself into the position. I feel entirely sure of myself as a teaching professional and what I can offer to the school and then….I walk in the door…
It’s like an outer-body experience, my tongue takes over from my brain and I find myself saying things that are not in the plan. My head feels like it is a chicken on a rotiserrie, turning from smiling face, to focused face, to serious face, and then repeat. Who are these faces, these people? What are they thinking of me right now? Arggggh! The voice in my head will not stop.
And then comes the period After-the-Interview. The period of realising you answered a question in a way that was not the intention of the interview panel. The replay of the dialogue, the images of the faces in the room that seem to be burnt into your memory.
It’s hard, teaching is competitive and that is a great thing. I try to be philosophical but the investment in the process creates an attachment to these people, the school, long before you hear the words ‘We’d like to offer you the position’. And even then, you may never hear that statement. You are left to walk away and know that someone else will indeed work hard to prove the decision was the right one, and to move on to the next opportunity. This is what it comes down to – an opportunity that is either meant to be or not, life is not as complex as I thought after all.