A desperate hunt for a new teacher

We have less than a week to find a new teacher.

For most of this term, one of the positions in our department has been filled by a supply teacher who can no longer come in. Cue panic-driven recruitment.

There is a vicious cycle at work here. Bad schools are poor at retaining staff and are often over-reliant on temporary staff. Aside from the obvious disadvantages this turnover has for students, it also makes it difficult to find good teachers. It forces the school to recruit at times of the year (such as now) when most good teachers are employed and not looking for work. The time pressure also means the school can't be that selective; they have to pick someone, even if the choice is small and unimpressive.

The first candidate was not a success. As part of the interview process, he taught my Year 8 set. My Head of Department described it as a shambles.

Teaching a lesson seems the only true way to test quality. It's also a very rare instance when the school hands over power to the students. They don't make the decision but the extent to which they choose to cooperate with this new teacher plays a key role in how the lesson will go.

It's an odd thought that the applicant's future is at least partly in the hands of a group of teenagers.