This was number 1 on 14th March 2004.
Something really strange happened to me this week. Thursday 2nd July 2015.
My current Headteacher is retiring at the end of term and she must have been clearing out her files. She came to me with a blue file. “Look inside,” she urged, her eyes looking knowing.
I opened the file and inside were a collection of papers. On the front sheet was the title “Music Co-Ordinator- Friday 19th March 2004- Interview Arrangements”.
I was suddenly transported back to that day. I remember most of it very clearly. I was late for my interview. How embarrassing. I got completely lost despite doing a trial run the day before. The area was completely unfamiliar to me and my friend’s dad suggested the route I had used the day before would be horrific in the morning. He gave me details of an “easier” route. Easy schmeasy, I got totally lost, had to ring the school for directions and wanted to cry. I arrived 10 minutes late, then was soaked to the skin crossing the car park in torrential rain. The lovely receptionist (who has since retired) helped me dry my hair under the hand drier in the ladies toilets before taking me into the meeting I was currently missing.
“Any questions?” asked the deputy head leading the meeting. I piped up “Would I be able to leave by 2pm please? I’m taking students on a trip this evening and need to be back in Liverpool by 6pm”. At that moment I wondered why I had even turned up. I felt like I was nailing my potential classroom door shut, tightly.
Looking through the sheets in the file made me feel strange. It was looking back in time, because I was. Application forms with my Manchester address on it, with details of things I’d forgotten I’ve even done as it was so long ago; training staff when I worked at Marks and Spencer and being part of the team who helped open and staff the Trafford Centre store. Working as a mentor with Warrington Youth Offending team, something I used to love doing each week. It really made me understand some of the issues that may have had an impact the students I taught and made me a more understanding person.
Reading through my letter of application was strange. When I finished reading it, the thing that struck me the most is that I still write in the same sort of style. If I was reading the letter from a stranger, an applicant for example, I would be struck by their enthusiasm, commitment to their subject and the students and also that each point was backed up by an example.
In all honesty, if I were to write a letter of application this week, although my development throughout the years of different roles in school have given me a massive variety of experience and have all helped me to develop my skills, knowledge and teaching, my letter would still convey ME in the same way. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not- I come across the same way in person I have been told. I am guilty of letting it all spill out a bit sometimes…
The notes taken by the Head during my interview lesson said that I was “bright and breezy”, a good timekeeper, made good use of peer assessment but I didn’t use student names. I remember the lesson theme given was “major and minor” so enjoyed preparing the lesson for the interview as it had plenty of scope. Would the same things be mentioned in observations now? I’d like to think so, and I’m fab with names!
Reading through the references from my referees was very interesting as I’ve given plenty of references but never seen one of my own. They made me smile to myself with the comments, as the context of them was so long ago, a different life back then.
I think I have changed a lot in some ways, but I don’t think I’ve changed that much either. Do we really change that much personally, or is it the experiences we gain that change?
I remember feeling so disappointed with myself as I left early, get back to take my students on a trip to the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool that evening. I felt disappointed that I had ruled myself out with my poor timekeeping in the morning and need to leave early. The students I’d met that day made me feel disappointed; I wanted to work with them and I felt like I’d missed out. As I was driving down the A19, my phone rang so I pulled over. It was the Head’s PA. My heart sunk further, I didn’t get it, they had got the PA to ring. “The Head and the Governors know you are travelling but would like to offer you the post.” My initial reply was something inappropriate- then was told I was on speakerphone. (Another nail in my classroom door!) but I honestly couldn’t believe it. I was so happy. I remember I was listening to “Lord of the Rings- Return of the King” soundtrack and as I pulled off the hard shoulder and put the music back on, the track that was playing was so appropriate for that moment and every time I hear it, I see that moment in my mind like a snapshot.
Reflecting on this day so long ago, on the evening I was given the file made me feel quite sad. I remember the Head saying on the day “This will be my first appointment as Headteacher so I want to make a good one” and I remember thinking that if I got the job, I hope I wouldn’t let her down.
I hope she thinks she made a good appointment on that day.