"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together." “When I hear people say politics and religion don't mix, I wonder what Bible they are reading.” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4.19
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2.12
Monday, March 26, 2012
I think it must be a sign of the economic times: tomorrow I am part of an interview panel. We have one job for a mainscale R.S. teacher and have shortlisted four candidates. From forty three applicants. Forty three. Yes, that's right, forty three. Seven years ago, when we appointed Mrs. Singh, she was the only applicant (which made shortlisting pretty easy) and she turned out to be pretty darned good.
Never having seen that many applications in one go before, I found the process rather daunting but what I found particularly intriguing was the phenomenon of a significant number of candidates having a completely unrelated degree and an unshakable belief in their ability to teach the subject on the basis of a post-graduate R.S. orientation course which may not have lasted more than a couple of weeks.
There was some pretty awful cutting and pasting too as some generic application letters were badly tailored. One candidate got the name of the school wrong and a couple left clues as to the locale of their previous applications "I have wanted to relocate to Cumbria for some time." which is a shame as the Knowledge College is in West Yorkshire. No lakeside views here amongst the dark satanic mills.
My beloved, who is a university Carrers Advisor, noted that the current good practice is a covering letter of no more that two sides. I was somewhat dismayed by the significant numbers who, unconvinced that they had sold themselves in the first two pages, persevered for five. Apart from the fact that that's on the verge of being rude - I do have a life, after all - if you've not made an impact in the first two paragraphs you might well be flogging a dead horse by page five.
I was desparate to be fair but I must confess that some applications were simply irritating. I made a point of asking candidates to address the "But it's only R.S. issue." Almost everyone ducked it. Instead I got applications that seemed to work on the "everything I've ever heard about R.S." model and the "In my last school I ...." model. Someone whose application was littered with spelling and gramatical errors has had the temerity to demand to know why he wasn't short-listed.
"I have a degree in American Studies/Theatre Studies/Ancient Icelandic/Law. (Delete as appropriate.) Interview me. It's only R.S. How hard can it be?"