The interview

Last week I went to my local library to return some books that I
borrowed a few weeks back for me and some books for my son.  As I was
waiting for my son to pick up another book to take home, I was having
a good look around the free leaflets and magazines and I picked up a
tiny magazine called “The Parent Directory” for the spring/summer
period (yes, old issue) and it brings information about education,
local services, activities, etc. I picked up one so I could have a
quick read at home since at that very moment I would have to proceed
to  operation “let’s pick two books instead of 20”  with my son.

That afternoon as I was looking for something that would distract me,
I decided to have a proper look to “The Parent Directory”. First
impressions? Quite useful if it was the right time of the year to look
at it – that means “Spring/Summer” as advertised on the front cover,
not middle of October! – it provided me with a healthy jealous feeling
of all the things I could have done if only I knew. Then it was full
of advertisements of different schools, nurseries, entertainment and
many ballet academies.

There were a couple of advertisements that caught my attention – not
only the ones for ballet – but one who advertised tutoring for early
latin (never crossed my mind there was a “late latin”?), verbal, non
verbal reasoning, advice and interview techniques. Sounds mad? Well,
all this aimed for children between the ages of 7 and 13. Later on
that day I recall discussing this with somebody who went to several
schools, private ones and all this person had to say was “well, I was
tutored for interviews, because every school I went to had
interviews”.

In my life I never been – for as far as I can remember in my school
life – into an interview for a placement in a school. The one time I
remember going to a “meeting” (perhaps that was an “interview”?)  was
when I got my scholarship to see me through the last two years of my
primary education, with lunch included (yay!). All I can remember from
that occasion was the headmaster agreeing with my mother that she
would not have to pay and that my exercise books, notes and homework
would be under severe scrutiny from the teachers’ board once a month,
to keep my scholarship going. If the board finds some lack, then I
could kiss goodbye to my scholarship (and my lunch).

What I remember most clearly from that day is that I was given full
access to the school library so I could borrow the books I needed for
my course (yes, no money for books either, looking back I should have
been pleased I had money for exercise books and ink for the fountain
pen along with some other few school utensils). I was so happy! I
almost forgot all about the scholarship and what it involved. But I
was constantly reminded about my responsibility by my mother who with
all her patience would sit with me when she came back from work to
check my exercises , my notes, my drawings, make sure everything was
tip top on paper. After that first inspection, she would check with me
if my uniform was clean, shirts ironed, socks clean and shoes
polished. That is how my day ended from Monday to Friday.

After that and no interviews whatsoever – just application form and a
“this is going to be your next school” phrase from my mother –  I went
to another 2 schools, 2 universities (the entry to the last one
involved an interview, just so you know, but I was in my late 20’s and
it was a British University). Job wise I have had in my working life
(almost 30 years) 4 interviews (+ 2 inside the same company). And
guess what? I never ever had any tutoring.

I am wondering if my son will have to be prepared for interviews when
he comes to that age. Or perhaps interviews are just for the upper
crusts who are going to get into upper class (and beyond) schools? If
the interview is a way to know the child and the parents (providing
the observation of the law with regards of child protection) should
the interview be done with the family/next of kin/guardian?

Perhaps my ignorance/lack-of-interviews-when-a-child prompts me to
think that this interview thing is just bonkers. On the other hand,
perhaps interviews are the future, because in this society all is
competition and only who could sell him/herself properly will get the
most chances. If the latter is the case I am deeply saddened because
slowly but surely children are stopping being children, without being
“interviewed”.

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