Filling in application forms for jobs in the teaching sector is very much like making love to a beautiful woman. You have to go through all the boxes carefully a right pain. All the usual basic information is required, plus a fiddly level of detail, and – the nub of my crux – an annoyingly variegated range of formatting styles, designed to make the process as unstreamlined as possible.

Name, age, addresses (going back at least five years because child protection legislation), edumacation details, and a full list of jobs from when you finished school. I mean, for me, that’s a longish time ago now. I asked a Head of Recruitment recently if they really needed them all. She assured me they did, because child protection legislation and the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service).

While it seems likely that citing DBS regs is probably the new ‘Health and Safety’ sorrowful headshake for HR, ‘post Savile’, I’m happy to comply with all that, because, well, protected children, and of course me not having my application binned. Fortunately, having neglected to cover the years 1995-1997 on that occasion, ‘Eleventy thousand bars and shops I pinballed round for two years in my early 20s’ seemed to be an acceptable gloss 20 years on.

The application forms for most teaching jobs in the UK all seem to have pretty much the same layout, too. Tables, in Word, with the end of cell markers that signify orphaned post codes unless you fudge about with the size of text or font. Annoyingly, filling out multiple variations of the same form does not allow for easy cut and pasting of job details, exam results, etc. There is always a somewhat different format, always multiple variations of box configurations. One I filled out two days ago had a section for every single detail of my schooling:

[from mm][yy] [to mm] [yy] [school] [school address] [exam] [grade] [certificating body]

“Make it easy on yourseeeeelllllf” I warbled somewhat desperately as I tabbed and c+v’d. The app I was copying from was laid out in precisely the reverse order as well.

While resisting (somewhat feebly, given my embrace of products Googlish) the 21st century urge to spreadsheet database centralisation, at 22.45 last night I considered forming, or at least joining, a campaign to force everyone advertising through TES Online to use a central CV/application form resource. This far-too-sensible-to-work-in-real-life notion rapidly extrapolated to the more entertaining scenario of being able to plug my brain in, Matrix-style, to some industrial virtual teacher repository, where our smiling avatars sit arrayed like apps in the Apple store. Teacher with the most up-votes gets the job.

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