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Emotional Resilience

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by headforheights, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. headforheights

    headforheights New commenter

    I wondered if other HTs could share how they stay resilient emotionally to the pressures of headship. Although I have been a HT for a couple of years now I still really struggle with this when being overwhelmed with issues from staff, children and parents. I just want to run away and hide at the moment so that I don't have to face any more hassle from people. Nothing terrible - just the normal allegations of bullying, stroppy parents, trying to improve teaching, etc. I jut feel worn out with it at the moment and very vulnerable and delicate.
  2. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Be kind to yourself, have a life outside work, have hobbies, cultivate and nurture friendships, support fellow heads- they're going through the same stuff, plan small treats for yourself so that when things are tough you can think, "ooh next week I'm going to x" delegate sometimes- does it always have to be you who deals with the complaint straight away? Has the parent spoken to the teacher first? Cultivate your relationship with your deputy if you're lucky enough to have one-support each other. Invest in your working relationships. If you look after people most people are decent and will reciprocate. A while ago I had a truly horrible situation at school and I was tremendously moved by the support the staff gave me. Remind folk that you are a human being too! Spend time with the children- it'll remind you of why you're doing the job. Teach some classes, it'll give you perspective and earn you some kudos and appreciation from tired teachers.
    Above all - let the little things go. Yes, it's annoying, but you're never going to please everyone. If you can say, hand on heart, that you're doing the best you can in the best interests of the children, then you can do no more. Nearly half term. Try to keep smiling.
  3. bnm


    I can't say I do stay resilient. I've been a HT for a long time and I'm no better now than I ever was.
    I try to eat well, see some daylight, get (a bit) of exercise.
    However, I have posted before that I rarely sleep on a Sunday night in term time and some days I come home and cry. In a way it's ridiculous because nothing terrible has happened; just lots and lots and lots of pressures applied from every direction.
    However, I also often have good days and I enjoy the job.
    If you find the answer, let me know.
  4. Spot on!

  5. headforheights

    headforheights New commenter

    Thank you very much for your replies and support.
    Curlygirl - your comments really helped me this morning to get through.
    BNM - I also have good days and often enjoy the job but I also have the sleepless nights and feel tearful at times. It's the sick feeling in my stomach and feelings of anxiety that I find the worst thing. I just wish I could be confident about what I am doing and not suffer from constant angst!
    I am not good about the whole worklife balance!
    Am counting the days down to half term and am going to try to plan in some things to look forward to next half term.
    Thanks again
  6. It's nice knowing it's not just me. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and close to tears, it's scary! I wake up ebreyday now at 4am...and once the mind starts, sleep does not come back. Constantly exhausted. Just trying to stay afloat and to juggle all the different demands. :)
  7. missbloggs

    missbloggs New commenter

    I feel exactly the same. I have been in post for 4 years now, and it never gets any easier. I currently have a huge health worry, but I literally daren't go to the doctors because I couldnt possibly have any time off (we are overdue ofsted and a key member of staff has just gone off long term sick) and I couldn't bear the added stress of knowing I have something wrong health wise on top of the gigantic pressures of this job. If I'd known what it was going to be like I'd never have applied for the post. But sadly now my circumstances are such that I have to battle on. There is no support from the LA and I have no-one to talk to about my health fears, which of course doesn't help. It is a thankless job, especially when I have a 0.6fte teaching commitment and a sudden and unexpected staff crisis. I can't help wonder why any of us do it!
  8. Missbloggs - Your post completely worried me. You need to go to the doctor soon. Your health is far more important. You would be telling your staff this if it was them. Book up, tomorrow.
  9. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    I am not, nor ever have been a head. However, I had a chum years ago who used to keep a cushion in her stock room. When things got bad-she taught reception-she would pop into her stock room and scream into her cushion. As she said, she'd no idea what a phsychologist would make of this behaviour, but it made her feel fab!!
    Just a thought!!
  10. headforheights

    headforheights New commenter

    I can relate so closely to everyone's comments, but find it incredibly sad that so many of us feel like this.
    Unfortunately I don't have a deputy that I can share these anxieties with and so often feel very isolated. I have been close to tears for most of the time over the last few days and have not done my job well because I feel so anxious about a couple of situations that are currently going on. I feel that I am expected to 'fix' everything and parents are very good at making me feel that it is all my fault - even those things which happen outside of school!
    I also have no LA support but am sometimes called upon to give support to other HTs - which is a bit of a joke really when I feel that I can't do the job half the time!
    I would just like to be more able to not internalise issues and toture myself and more able to shrug them off and leave them at school!
  11. You could be me headforheights! Internalising is the biggest issue, as is juggling the many demands. I bounce from trying to keep focused on what's important...the children, improving learning...but end up constantly in situations where i am firefighting, solving other people's problems, anything but what is truly important. I guess that's because I'm not good at my job. If I was, I wouldn't need to firefight etc. in a small school, with so few staff, it seems even more overwhelming. I feel like public property....that everyone wants a piece of me.
  12. jellandy

    jellandy New commenter

    It is a huge worry that so many of us are feeling this way......And so many of my staff are also. So.... as Heads, what can we do to support each other?? I know that we could be spread far and wide across the country, but I think we need to prioritise our need for professional support here in order to maintain our own mental, physical and emotional health, to be able to effectively support our staff and to keep on marching forward! I'd be happy to join with others to try to pull something together - any ideas / suggestions??
  13. Perhaps those who are not going through a rough patch at the moment and feel fairly ok could be available to anyone struggling somehow? Maybe TES Technology could offer a secure service to allow people to find others with relevant experience to help in a secure Internet way? Some experienced Heads who are able to might offer to support one colleague perhaps?
  14. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I'm happy to support people via pm- strength in numbers after all.
  15. headforheights

    headforheights New commenter

    Thank you again to everyone for all their moral support and kind words. I know that it is approaching half term and I am tired. Am also very long over due a visit from Ofsted and that adds to the anxiety and the worry of being on top of everything. I also worry that I am not doing enough to improve teaching because of dealing with other situations. When I see other colleague HTs they always seem so together and confident. I also wish I had a deputy I could share issues with and someone who I could be honest with about how I feel.
    I think that if there was a secure way of heads supporting each it would be really valuable. I don't think anyone can understand the lonelines and sense of responsibility that the role leads to.
    I think that I feel I ought to protect my staff and so therefore don't want to appear weak and unable to cope a I feel that they need to have faith in me that I know what I am doing - even if I don't most of the time. I am also conscious of 'putting on' other nearby heads who I know have their own hands full.
    Thank you so much Curly Girl for your offer. It would be good if we could support each other.
    I am sure Biscuit that you are doing a fantastic job and make a real difference to the children.
  16. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    If it's any consolation most of the best heads I know confess to worrying that they'll be "found out" as not being fit for the job sooner or later. They are all more than capable but they doubt themselves- like most good teachers they focus on the things they feel they don't do or need to improve rather than all the good stuff they do well. Being a head doesn't mean you have to be superhuman. There's no shame in admitting you're feeling pressure from time to time. If you don't they may think you're passing all the pressure on to them and resent you. Take time to write down a list of jobs you ust do" then cut the list up and throw away the ones that actually you really don't need to (if there are any) move the ones which can be done by others into a list of jobs to delegate (to governors, teachers, TAs, admin staff) then organise the other jobs according to urgency. You'd be amazed at how many jobs you think you've got up do, aren't actually your jobs, or all that important. Sometimes it's easy to get overwhelmed. Remember things will get done, in time- this is a job that's never finished, accept that and deal with what you can do, try not to worry about the rest.
  17. Keighleigh

    Keighleigh New commenter

    Try a daily affirmation and commit to being a positive forward thinking person. You can please some people some of the time but you cannot please everybody all of the time!!! That's just life. The constant demands on HT's is tough and I hear staff say "what does the Head do all day" not realising the accountability and pressure on HT's from so many angles. Particularly in a challenging context it can all be so draining!! Take time for yourself and remember if you die tomorrow they'll have a new Head for January... Is it really worth all of the stress?? Live, Laugh, Love I say!! Good Luck, stay strong.
  18. You get paid very well indeed to ensure teachers are put under huge amounts of pressure to do ridiculous amounts of irrelevant work to satisfy the all-important Ofsted regime. If HTs had some independence and actually just concentrated on improving teaching, rather than bending over for Ofsted and running mickey mouse courses just to get results up, the whole state of education would be vastly improved. Doesn't anyone in a position of 'importance' ever read these forums? I Iived in blissful ignorance for nearly 15 years while things spiralled into insanity with learning styles, APP, three, four and five-part lessons, mini-plenaries, learning walks, and myriad other non-evidence-based guff. I recently discovered this site after finishing full-time teaching to get a life, and find that hundreds and hundreds of other teachers at all levels have similar opinions. Yet it all continues. 'World class"? LOL!
  19. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    A small school primary head earns from £42, 379 - whilst that's not a tiny salary, it's hardly "very well indeed" when you consider that a member of staff on UPS3 earns £36,756 and with a TLR can earn up to £49,149.
    Bear in mind that a head of a small school will also have a substantial teaching commitment- usually 0.6 or 0.8.
    That's hardly a huge salary for the level of responsibilty the job brings.
    That's not at all what being a head is about. However, if your headteacher knew that Ofsted expected certain things, but didn't ask you to do them, would you still think they were wonderful when the school went into special measures as a result and you ended up with Ofsted every few weeks instead of every few years and under intense scrutiny from everyone? My guess is no. So sometimes it's opting for the lesser of the two evils.
    Anyone who's read this thread should be able to see that the posters are trying their best to protect their staff from as any demands as possible and to support them, and consequesntly they are struggling to hold things together themselves.
    Frankly, even if the money were doubled it would not be compensation for the feeling of having everyone have a go at you on a daily basis and expecting you to be able to solve all the world's problems in one fell swoop.
    Headteachers are human beings, and most are decent enough people who try their best to support staff in difficult times, sometimes they need a bit of support themselves, otherwise they go under and that's when schools usually get into huge difficulties.
  20. There are often snide little remarks on this forum from those we suppose are teachers with "issues". Lots of Heads suffer in silence and this seems a good place to share a worry with anonymity with colleagues who might be able to help. Just have to be prepared for sarcastic, often vengeful what sits hiding in the bushes!

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