A school that I have worked at casually offered an “information night” for possible positions that may be available for the new school year.So I rocked up to the information night, and it was actually group interview (!).
The ‘advertisement’ on Facebook (!) said that it was middle to upper primary.
It was actually upper.
So already part of me is trying to highlight the red flags here.
I knew the school, and had worked with the team they were looking to expand.
Another red flag is the informality of this whole process.
“Information night” – group interview: stage 1
“an informal chat” – small group / individual interview: stage 2
Those informal chats that decide futures and plot plans… informal bullshit.
Why am I wrestling with this?
So I went to the next phase today, the “chat”. With another applicant. She seems awesome. The stuff she talks about is amazing. I want to see her in action! And I told the panel about that. She sounds amazing. I wasn’t over the moon with the connection in the interview, but nerves I guess.
More red flags.
First annoying thing. I had a relief/substitute day booked for the interview day. Because, firstly, they didn’t say anything about an interview day. And secondly, I didn’t say anything about applying. I lost out on a fifth of my week’s pay, for this impromptu ‘chat’.
Second annoying thing. After cancelling the booking I had, they changed the time. I could have asked the booking school for an hour of leave, rather than a whole day of no pay. Frustrating!!
Pre Interview Preparation
So anyways, last night I was uber stressed. I’d had an incredibly shitty day at the same school, with an incredible behaviour incident that highlighted questions I have with teaching, children, schools and my whole self worth and such. I tried to do some processing, but mostly rang a few people for some talking points for the interview.
Talking points. Noted.
Also on that note, this was an incredibly hurtful experience. I had to touch base with colleagues I hadn’t spoken to for a while, about a school that I have a very complex relationship with (I loved and hated it and it throws me off emotionally thinking about it… I don’t know why).
The program that I brought in for English – is being credited to another teacher. The program I brought in for Health – that I was told flat out that I couldn’t use, is now the mandated school-wide program. The work I’d started in Maths with intervention and documenting – is now ‘normal’ so nothing noteworthy… but it was very unusual at the time. And it was very note-worthy! The difference I made, the blood, sweat and tears are all mushed into nothingness.
For some reason something from my ex-school’s Facebook page popped into my feed. This has never happened before. I wasn’t even sure that I ‘friended’ or ‘liked’ them. It got me on their page, looking. What I saw was the quintessential event that I created with my class, that I was chastised for and spoken badly about behind my back – was created by another class. Which class, I haven’t asked. So this thing that I couldn’t do properly apparently, became such an important part of the school culture, that it was done again. And I wasn’t invited. I know that sounds uber selfish… but I feel under-recognised. And totally unappreciated.
And that fuelled my worthlessness looping.
Then my dog ate stuff he’s not supposed to. Freaked out at the vet. Wet himself. Rolled in it. Shared it with me. Worthlessness in dog owning and caring – tick! Emotional fuck storm – still in progress.
The morning of, this morning.
I woke up about 2 and a half hours before the interview. It was a 5-7 minute drive from where I am staying, so I wasn’t overly concerned about the commute.
I started to do more research on the school as well as some of the learning theories and philosophies that underpin my mishmash of “teaching ideals”.
I knew I was in worthless town so I wrote dot points. I had 8 things to talk about. 8 points of awesomeness.
And two questions.
- According to your school review, staff retention and wellbeing was highlighted as an area of concern and for addressing. What does that mean for you at the moment, and where are you heading?
- What levels of support will you offer between the team and the administration (principal and deputies)?
I was super firm in those questions. I have spoken to so many teachers at that school who are constantly commenting that they are unsupported and that the communication was shit.
My power (and thus internet and hot water) went out. Great. Fucking great!
The interview/ “chat”.
I made it to the interview. Too nervous to eat.
The other applicant had her CV. Fuck. Fuckity, fuck, fuck fuck!
I was asked a question about mindfulness. I explained my answer. The principal asked what that actually meant, what do I actually do. I asked him if I could show him, he said I could tell him.
Then question/s to the other applicant.
Then they asked if we had any questions.
I asked questions (with time to answer, obviously).
I was dismally disappointed.
- Staff retention is better because they’ve offered more permanency. Staff wellbeing is a ‘thing’ that gets thrown around here. I should ask the staff that [I have, which is why I wanted his opinion]. They’ve tried stuff.
- ARE YOU KIDDING? If your staff are happy and healthy and mentally fit enough to I-don’t-know change lives daily… is a “we’ve tried stuff”. I was super disappointed in this. BUT I am glad I asked. I have no illusions walking into this. I am on my own when it comes to my own health, mental or otherwise. And a fair disclaimer would be that the deputy principal/s seem open to communication. Although I have also heard some horrific accounts to the contrary.
- Your first port of call is your team. We don’t deal with behaviour. There is no point taking students out when you have to deal with them all 6 hours a day, 40 weeks a year.
- AHHHHHHH it’s called SUPPORT! Yes I’ll do everything I can to deal with shitty, traumatised, hurting, disrespectful little turds, but there comes a point where I might need some back up. I’m not sure if this is a safe environment to be walking into.
Thanks and bye.
So, then, in under 25 minutes, it was all over.
So what now?
I left feeling anxious. Do they have any idea who I am? What I’ve done? What I’ve accomplished? Do they know that I can tick boxes that they asked the other applicant about? Am I the one that should have shoved that down their throats? Did I screw this up? Do I even want this? What were the looking for? What did they see?
Why am I so emotionally attached to something I didn’t know if I wanted? Will they ring people? And what on earth to do in the meantime?!
Why does this feel super dodgy? Was it dodgy? Or was it ‘alternative’? Was there a self-serving reason or an applicant-serving reason? And did I get the job?!
What does all of this mean? Why did it come up? What’s at play here?