Friday, 27 May 2011

Personal Statement

The worst bit about applying for jobs is having to write a 'personal statement'. About your person. And why you are a suitable applicant for the job on offer.

It's simple for, say, chickens.

'I am a chicken. I lay eggs, I eat bugs, I run up and down the garden in an amusing way.'

Therefore, prospective chicken employers will see that a) the chicken will earn her keep b) she will get rid of slugs (especially appealing if, like me, you are a slug-phobic) and c) cause high entertainment whilst carrying out boring tasks like washing up and staring idly from the kitchen window.

And bees...

'I am a bee. I get up early and work all day and go to bed late and make honey which is the best thing on fresh bread toast and butter.'

Even cats...

'I am a cat. I sleep mostly. I am affectionate. I can do entertaining yoga poses whilst cleaning my nethers.'

But what about me, about to fling herself back into full-time teaching? Oh, it was a tricky but inevitable decision based on the simple fact I need a job for September. The tutoring has been FAB, but the end is in sight. My current school is being vague about the potential of jobs for me there, and vague doesn't pay the bills. I need to find something solid.
'Like a rock?' says Mrs Slocombe.
'If you like,' says I.
And the only posts available at the moment are either full-time or maternity cover (there seem to be a lot of English and Drama teachers going off on maternity leave in the next couple of months - must be something in the local water).

So, here I am, filling in one form after another. And, of course, you can't do the same personal statement for each application, because you have to 'tailor' them to fit the post's particular criteria. They also have to be riddled with jargon and edu-speak, the kind that reflects an understanding of the latest pedagogic theories. (Although a good friend of mine, a wise and experienced teacher of thirty-plus years, says the hub of education is all about re-inventing the wheel. She's seen the same 'innovative' ideas being recycled under different names time and time again - it's very comforting to know that nothing really changes it just wears different flared trousers!)

Personal statements can go on forever. They can be miniature works of literary art. Sometimes, when you've written one, you read it back to yourself and can't understand a word you've said. Sometimes I am very impressed with myself - I think, I'd employ me. Other times I sound like a desperate mad woman who collects cats...oh...er...well....

Luckily, I have been offered references by five different colleagues, so hopefully they will say a lot about me that I can't, because I'm not very good at blowing my own trumpet. In fact, I don't even have a trumpet. A flute and a keyboard, but pas de trumpet.

In the meantime, I wish the statement could be as simple as the new sofa we bought yesterday to be employed in our newly decorated living room - 'Sofa, medium. Squishy. Aubergine. Fuzzy fabric. Lush. Fifteen percent off.'

In fact, that's a brilliant idea! Personal statements should be restricted to ten words.

Hmmm...'Creative, good-humoured, organised, reliable teacher wants a job. Please.'

That should do it!

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