Monthly Archives: May 2013


“We received a very large number of applications so please feel pleased with being selected for interview. As you could see, we had a very strong field and had to make some difficult decisions and we have offered the position to another candidate, who has orally accepted it.

You interviewed very well and your lesson was very well planned and well executed. We gave you very serious consideration and, had it not been for another particularly suitable candidate with more experience, we would have been very happy to appoint you. This was an extremely difficult decision as the field was both strong and very capable. We wish you every success and have no doubt you will find a job very soon.”
I feel neutral about not being offered the position- not put out or demoralised. I feel happy that I gave it my best, that they recognised my qualities but that I could not compete with experience. And that’s fine.

I do feel rather relieved I don’t have to make any sort of decision on whether or not to work there…!
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Aaaaand relax…

How did the interview day go? Okay. Very rushed, with not enough time to reflect and ask questions, and only about five minutes to show the Head of Department the work I had put together in my portfolio. I still have a lot of questions about the place, how they do things, workload etc.

I answered all questions more-or-less okay, barring the odd slip-up, kept the laughing under control and didn’t feel very nervous, which surprised me. It was difficult to answer some of the questions put to me with enough clarity as the questions themselves were quite vague; if they’d been more specific I could have given a much clearer answer.

I was not told how much the salary is, which is what you would be paid in the state sector plus a little extra; how much extra, and how does it work with regards progression? I don’t know how assessment works in the department i.e. how anal they are on data, but from my interview with a deputy head it seems they use their discretion as professionals much more often.

Everyone was very welcoming and helpful, with the Art staff being personable and the sort that I could work with. The place was hilariously clean and well-resourced, with the kids not overly “posh” – middle class, yes, but not overly Yah.

At the time and upon reflection I don’t really feel “Ooooh – I really want to work there.” Is this a bad thing? I am not sure. As my boss says, perhaps it could be a stepping stone to something else?

£1 a day for a three-course lunch!
Free coffee and tea on tap
Slightly increased salary
Longer holidays
Intellectually able and curious pupils
Very well-resourced department
Supportive and engaged parents
Vastly reduced commute (I could even walk)
Free use of the on-site gym and swimming pool (yes, really)
Small group sizes
Professed commitment to research-based education
Professed commitment to staff development
Commitment to running classes no matter how small they are

Highly demanding parents that will put pressure on
No standard terms and conditions
Potentially longer hours
No such thing as supply teachers (staff do all cover)
Ideological objections to private education

Whatever the outcome of my time and efforts, I have a portfolio I can use in the future, and recent interview experience under my belt. I will find out by Friday whether i’ve been successful (there were four candidates for the position).

At the moment, if I don’t get it, because I was not overly wowed by the art or the place, I don’t think i’ll feel too down about it. I have a lot to look forward to over the Summer, and I am generally satisfied with my preparation and performance during the day. Nothing else to give, so there’s no point in dwelling.

Treating myself to a slap-up ready-meal this evening woooooooooooooo :D
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Since around 2.30pm today I have felt a horrible case of nerves making its appearance within my innards.

Portfolio is almost complete, interview questions browsed and pondered, outfits compared. I need to finish off the final few bits of sticking this evening, polish my shoes and try to relax.
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Watt - Ingres - Backpacks

Job interview next Wednesday (if i’m allowed to go).


Private girls’ school for smart cookies, teaching “pattern and observation” to a class of twenty-five Year 7s (I have always taught classes of thirty).

The plan is to reference the work of Alison Watt, Ingres and the trend for highly patterned schoolbags and pencil cases.

No portfolio to speak of. Zero free time at work. Ugggggggghhhh.
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Caught In The Stirrups

Hmm. Tried to get back onto the run/walk horse and succeeded (if this can be even remotely related to success) in managing one three minute run followed by two minutes of running before I gave up. I was supposed to be “easing back into things” by doing three sets of three minutes.
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Falmouth and Boulder

Once I escape from work for the Summer, I am HUGELY looking forward to going on not just one, but TWO holidays. Holy shit.

First off: Falmouth for Betty’s wedding. I have not been to Cornwall since I was a schoolgirl, so I am really looking forward to being back beside the sea, and in a room with a bed and wi-fi rather than a tent with a sleeping bag. Not that I dislike camping, but a mattress will be much appreciated. I don’t think i’ve ever been to Falmouth; as a family we used to spend Summers on the Lizard further down the coast. As well as the nuptial events, I am greatly looking forward to peering in rock pools ooooooo.

Last week I met up with Betty for beverages and reminiscing; it was the first time i’d seen her since, ooh, 1999, so it was pretty weird to be all grown-up upon meeting again. We had a really enjoyable evening, talking of school, friends, underachievement and the wedding-industrial complex.

She is a reluctant bride when it comes to the pressure to spendspendspend, and I can imagine how easy it is to get sucked into buying things that will “make” the day. Admirably, she’s managing to resist so far, so we talked about how the whole wedding thing is a bit strange in that it’s something that is important to the couple but of which they don’t always have ownership. Hmm.

Anyway, the wedding promises mucho dancing to 90s music, which I am SO looking forward to! No pressure dance-a-rama ahoy. Hopefully without the usually accompanying sticky floors and mild sexual assault. Woop.

Shortly after I get back from the South West, i’m off to house-sit for just shy of three weeks in Boulder, Colorado. A favourite Aunt divides her time between the US and the UK (she’s a professor of classics), so whilst she’s in Cambridge i’m going to water her plants back in Boulder.

I am SUPER excited about spending time in the States again; Boulder and its environs look glorious, and with the time I have there I can seriously indulge my love of National Parks. The weather is usually hot and sunny come August, and it will be grand to go on a proper hot weather holiday. My Beloved Texan (no, not that one) lives in Denver, so if she’s about, it would be ridiculously amazing to meet up with her again (we last saw each other in 2005).

I can read, hike (yes, I will do this!!), absorb the landscape, feel small, feel the sun on my skin and the wind in my hair, cruise pharmacy isles looking at all the weird stuff, drive endless highways with the windows down and the music up and drink a lot of tea (Boulder is apparently a tea rather than a coffee town).

I cannot believe my fucking luck! Or at least I cannot believe how much this is going to cost me. But. GOOD TIMES are in the offing!

So just a few months to worry about fidgety Icelandic volcanoes…
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Auf Wiedersehen, Tschüss, Goodbye

My kids” AKA my form whom i’ve been form tutor to for five years are leaving at the end of the coming week, and i’m going to feel rather sad when they’re gone. Or at least i’ll feel sad that 27 out of 29 of them are gone. The manipulative, controlling girls who are absolute bitches to their peers, less so.

Whilst doing some mentoring this week, one of the kindest girls in my form told me that she wanted to thank me for what i’d written about her in her last ever report. She said that she started to read it out loud to her Mum, before they both began to lose their shit and sob, as what i’d written was so on the money.

My tutee told me that her Mum was so taken with what i’d written, and how accurate it was that she copied it and emailed it around to various members of their family. Her Mum was deeply touched that her daughter had had a tutor who so clearly knew and cared for her.

Me and the tutee then had a bit of a weep; it always means a lot to me to be told thank you. Sigh. It’s the small things that make all the shit worth it, or at least make the poor behaviour from the small minority tolerable. Some of the time.

This is why it takes me over ten hours to write reports:
“When writing this report, it is difficult to come up with enough superlatives to describe how wonderfully XXXX is getting on this term. This excellent set of review grades is very strong indeed, and she is making very good progress in all subjects, particularly in chemistry. She manages to balance her both her academic commitments with creative performance, which is highly admirable, and she should be commended on all her hard work.

Within the form she has been a reliable and approachable prefect for XXXX, working with large groups of people of different ages, which can be quite the challenge at times. Her vocal performances are of depth and quality, for example when contributing to the year 11 concert; she has also helped out with many charity fund-raising events.

On a personal level, XXXX continues to be one of the kindest, most personable members of the form. Her warmth and compassion towards others is hugely appreciated by her peers, and I will greatly miss her enthusiasm, humour and level-headedness. XXXX has much to offer, both personally and the academically, and I hope that, given time, Skye will come to more fully recognise the great many positive personal qualities and abilities she possesses. She will go far, and I am sure that whatever XXXX puts her mind to she will achieve.

It has been both an honour and a pleasure to be XXXX’s form tutor these past five years, and I wish her every success in the future.”
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