Imagine the scene: You’ve at last got your interview for that Deputy Head post the one you’ve always wanted. You sit there in your brand new suit and tie, wriggling uncomfortably; is it the new shirt digging in? Or is it the fact that the suit lies dormant on your Visa account still waiting to be paid for; lying there unloved like a tube of after sun in Cold November. Hands are clasped, tight, sweating, slightly trembling – you casually but cautiously look around at the assembled panel of seven! Yes seven of them!
The lead assassin from the Local Authority stares at you with steely, slate grey eyes. Uncannily he looks a little bit like Bill Oddie but has the compassion and tenderness of Hannibal Lecter – he makes his move and unceremoniously, unsmilingly, unsympathetically draws the first blood. No soft sweetener to put you at ease; No! He goes straight for the jugular; asking a question so alien from the ones you have practised in your head previously; the ones that you have practised with your colleagues; with your family; even the dog had to go through the benefits of collaborative group work, safeguarding; rigorous monitoring and pupil assessment. The question! Oh the question – it still has to be answered! The neurons are screaming frantically in terror as they race around your head looking for the opening line, that ‘Obama slickness’ that will have them eating out the palm of your hand within seconds.
But nothing occurs! The line you are searching for refuses to materialise – that one precious line that could, so easily, save you from the degradation that lies ahead. What happened next is unforgivable and beyond reproach; the elastic band that attaches the brain to you lower jaw suddenly snaps! You’re now the proverbial rabbit in the headlights, in career free fall; falling faster and faster into the abyss. Into the cesspool of self doubt and uncertainty.
The opening question (still insufficiently unanswered) is followed by question after relentless question; each ones picks you up and slams you against the ‘metaphoric’ wall that has just been self erected within your psyche. You once again scan the room looking for a friendly glimpse of humanity, of empathy – but you know you are alone! Alone with only the two evil horsemen of humiliation and indignity for company.
Suddenly from behind the heads of the malevolent septet of distaste gathered before you; a glimmer of hope can be seen – a lifeline. Outside the window a small blue tit hangs upside on a branch, he pecks away nonchalantly at a lush green leaf completely unaware of the torture that he is witnessing through the window. I close my eyes for a brief second and wish we could change places; as I slowly open them again I look for him but alas – he has gone. Left me! Left me alone to be savaged by the baying crowd. Hungry for blood; hungry to stamp out the very last crumb of hope that is contained within my poor, dilapidated, decrepit ego.
Well that was the experience I had of my first ever interview for a Deputy Head post. Can you beat that? If so. I’d love to hear from you.
Oh by the way; ‘On this particular occasion I was unsuccessful’ – And the blue tit? Never saw him again!