iday morning dawned bright (kinda) and early (very). As we were leaving the hotel at 6:30am, we had organised a take-away breakfast from the hotel the day before, without realising that breakfast in the form of an egg and bacon roll would be provided for us at the event.
After eating our breakfast sandwiches (mine had grated cheese that managed to fall out everywhere… smart planning there guys), we hopped on to our bus, all of us buzzing with nervous excitement. The day we had all been planning for and stressing over for the past few months was finally upon us.
The bus ride was about an hour long, and gave us a good opportunity to observe the English roads and urban areas. I was struck by how flat and close everything was, and how little greenery there was besides the trees. We did, however, pass by a rather large field with some beautiful horses in it, and another one with the biggest dandelions I’ve ever seen.
Finally we pull up outside our destination, the Hotel Russel. My gosh that building is beautiful! Such old-world charm, which is continued spectacularly into the foyer (think glorious amounts of marble), and still in to the function room where we were headed.
We enter to find many large round tables set up with a variety of Engage Education merchandise, including the inevitable pens (never say no to a free pen!) and tea/coffee station – where many headed straight after signing in and getting their name tag. Attached to the lanyard that held the name tag was also a USB which contained all the information packs for each of the schools that would be present that day.
After (everyone else had eaten) breakfast, we were handed our schedules for the day, which included the schools we were interviewing with, the time of the interview, and the name of the consultant for that school.
I had 8(!) interviews planned for that day, with a few 15-30 min breaks thrown in here and there. My first one was at 9am and the last one started at 5:15pm. Needless to say, it was going to be a very long day!
The structure of the day was well organised. About 10-15 minutes before an interview, the consultant for that school would come over to have a little chat with you.
Topics were anything from the school itself, students, the area the school is located in, where you could live, what you’re looking for ina school, what your subject preferences are, how you were feeling, etc. It was nice to have a quick run down with an actual person to supplement the furiously quick Google-ing and info-pack reading.
Being completely honest, some consultants were better at this than others. Without going in to details of each specific interview, I will say that every single school sounded good, but I did have a few clear favourites.
All of my interviews went extremely well (or so the consultants said), and I was told by many that the school would like to see me later in the week (where we would go to the school for a further interview, teach a lesson and have a tour).
By midday I was shattered. It is so mentally and emotionally exhausting sitting in a job interview that lasts 30-45 minutes. Try doing that four times before lunch. I am absolutely no stranger to job interviews, having had about 10 different jobs through high school and university. I know what’s expected of me, how to carry myself, and how to get the interviewer to like me. I’m very good at interviews. That did not make this day any easier whatsoever. By the time lunch came around I was ready to collapse into a coma from the excitement and stress of it all.
Lunch was provided in the form of a buffet, which was kept restocked for a few hours to allow for people to eat around their interview schedule. The interviewers weren’t given a lunch break though, so they had to try and fit some time in between interviews, which meant that some of the after-lunch ones started a little late (definitely no hard feelings there – they need to eat as much as we do!).
I ate some vegetable lasagne, roast potatoes, steamed broccoli, potato salad and a hot crusty bread roll, followed by a slice of lemon cheesecake. Also available were roast beef slices, fish stew, cold meats and cheeses, a variety of gourmet salads, and a few other varieties of cakes. (Yes I take note of the food, I love food).
After lunch were the rest of my interviews, but because I was so exhausted I feel like I let myself slip a little in them. Apparently that didn’t make too much of a difference, but it was still a little frustrating for myself. By the end, I was literally sitting at my table staring off into space, with about three or four individual thoughts circling around my poor brain.
But the day wasn’t over yet.
After completing all of the interviews, we had to order the schools in terms of our preferences. This was an excruciating task for me. There were about four schools I had a very hard time choosing between as the top of my list.
After prolonged discussions with the girls and the consultants, I finally made my choices and handed in my paper. Now there was nothing I could do until finding out my matches the next day, and hoping that they schools I liked best also liked me as much as the consultants said they did.
Dinner was provided for us that evening, in the restaurant at the hotel. This is also an extremely elegant place. We were served delicious chicken and vegetables, with the best creme brulee I’ve ever eaten for dessert.
We were all so shattered though, I felt like we couldn’t truly appreciate what we were given. We were slightly delirious by the end of the meal, with a group of us dissolving into a fit of giggles over the name of the after dinner mint – Bendick’s.
The bus back to the hotel was very subdued. I probably fell asleep at some point, I don’t really remember. I came back up to my room and fell asleep very quickly. Some of the Irish and Canadian crowd went out for drinks after, and I really don’t know how they did it!
Anyway, that was my experience of iday. Now on to the rest of the week, and securing myself a position here for the start of the next school year!