Happy May Day! There's no dancing round maypoles for me today, but instead I've been ploughing through the monotonous application forms for new jobs in a last ditch attempt to find something more lucrative for the new academic year. The end of May is the deadline for handing in notices of resignation in order to start a new job in September, and suddenly there has been a flurry of adverts in the educational press for roles that would pay me more money and probably give me bigger headaches. So I've saved up the little hillock of brown envelopes containing glossy prospectuses and reams of exam results and statistics for today. And now my teacher reference number is burnt into my retinas, and I have managed to rewrite some old application letters to fit newish criteria, only to find that my printer has run out of ink and I have no "large letter" stamps. I sound like an excuse letter from a parent for a child having not done their homework.
I have, however, assembled my applications into an order of preference, based on the following all-important criteria:
1. How far away the school is. Too close and going to the pub in the future will become fraught with dangers like bumping into sixth formers when off duty; too far and the future increase in diesel prices will render any increased salary worthless.
2. What time the school day ends. 3.05 is in the lead so far, followed by 3.20. Anything beyond 4pm is just ridiculous - add a 2 hour meeting onto that time and you might as well have a regular job.
3. The school uniform. Enforcing rules about doing ties up properly is just so tiresome. Dealing with polo shirts and sweatshirts is so much more simple.
4. Exam results. There's a happy medium to aim for here: too high and the pressure to get good results year upon year becomes untenable. Too low and the school will probably be a nightmare to teach in.
5. Inspection reports. Firstly, more points for those schools inspected within the last year - it means I wouldn't be walking straight into an atmosphere of paranoia and pre-inspection panic. But why is it that so many of these schools have negative comments about "small pockets of disruptive behaviour", "sub-standard accommodation", and "long-term staff absences"? It's a poor school that can't whitewash these things for Ofsted.
So there we go. Bank Holiday Monday is half-way through and I've not yet turned to the piles of marking I have to do for my current job. I've eaten too much chocolate to numb the pain of writing out the last five years' worth of training courses I've been on (who remembers that stuff? - and who checks?) and I've still got to visit relatives with my USB drive, a cheeky smile and a request to use their printer. I just hope it's all worth it...