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Lonely and stressed

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by headforheights, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. headforheights

    headforheights New commenter

    I am posting to see if people can offer me some words of advice.
    I have been a head for two and a half years in a good school with hardworking staff. I have a positive relationship with the staff although I am not always sure that I have got the balance completely right!
    In general the parents are very supportive but I do have a few who aren't - I know that I am lucky that there are only a few! However, they do make my life very tricky at times and I currently have a difficult situation I am dealing with.
    What I find so difficult is the stress that these situations make me feel - I haven't been able to eat all day, I feel sick and anxious and my mouth is dry. I can't get on or focus on anything and am wasting time because I can't settle to things. I do not like confrontation and find it difficult. I have managed not to cry so far today but feel very close to it. I really don't want to go in tomorrow and face it.
    I know that these situations are going to continue to occur during my time as a head if I continue so my main question for all you experienced heads is 'how do I build up my resilience emotionally to these situations and to confrontation?' Any comments or advice very gratefully received.
     
    artbinki likes this.
  2. headforheights

    headforheights New commenter

    I am posting to see if people can offer me some words of advice.
    I have been a head for two and a half years in a good school with hardworking staff. I have a positive relationship with the staff although I am not always sure that I have got the balance completely right!
    In general the parents are very supportive but I do have a few who aren't - I know that I am lucky that there are only a few! However, they do make my life very tricky at times and I currently have a difficult situation I am dealing with.
    What I find so difficult is the stress that these situations make me feel - I haven't been able to eat all day, I feel sick and anxious and my mouth is dry. I can't get on or focus on anything and am wasting time because I can't settle to things. I do not like confrontation and find it difficult. I have managed not to cry so far today but feel very close to it. I really don't want to go in tomorrow and face it.
    I know that these situations are going to continue to occur during my time as a head if I continue so my main question for all you experienced heads is 'how do I build up my resilience emotionally to these situations and to confrontation?' Any comments or advice very gratefully received.
     
  3. Work from home tomorrow
    I'm having a bad week so far, very frustrating. There's a course next Thursday I don't really need to go on but I'm going just to get out for the day.
    Look after yourself. My stock phrase when i'm dealing with c**p is to say 'I'll take it on board'
    Listen, make the right noises, empathise, say you'll investigate, give them a copy of the complaints policy, write to them with your findings.
    and take care of yourself
     
  4. R13

    R13 New commenter

    That's a good question and people more able than I can offer good advice . . . I'm just posting to advise you do something about that level of stress now. If your LA hasn't got a confidential help line I'd suggest you speak to your GP, to ask for help or advice
     
  5. headforheights

    headforheights New commenter

    Unfortunately I can't work from home tomorrow because of various commitments and have one of the troublesome parents in the morning. Thank you for the advice about talking to someone I am going to look into it tomorrow and am going to plan half a day at home at least next week.
    Anymore advice about building upy resilience to these things is gratefully received. I enjoy my job most of the time but don't think I can cope as I am for another 25 years!
     
  6. First off - it's not a life sentence. It's a job.
    Think of the things that cause you the most grief and think of what the solution to each of these things look like - what the situation would be if these problems were completely resolved. In some cases the solution isn't there. make a special note of those ones.
    THen think about what you need to do - not aspire to doing - that will make the first step toward each of the solutions you think you have a handle on. In some cases no step is available. Make a note.
    start with the first step. Not the whole thing - just the first step. Power comes when you are in control, no matter how small that control is - you have taken it and power has a way of growing.
    For the first items on your grief lists - you can't change these. Accept it and resolve to let them slide by. Often you make it worse by worrying - protect yourself - let them slide.
    For the ones where you aren't sure of the first step - someone else knows what this is. Cast around and find that person.
    Your problems are ones you can deal with, a friend can help you deal with, or no-one can deal with. Learn to recognise which one is which, and react accordingly.
    And remember - if anybody else tells you they could do it better, you only have to ask yourself why they aren't stepping up. It is usually because they lack the thing you have, which is the guts to try.
     
  7. I have sent you a p.message.
     
  8. I am in my first headship and I feel your pain. I had the luck to jobshare for a year as a long hand over and I have felt the lonliness so much since my "other half" went. The stress can be horrific and I too hate confrontation.
    My saviour is my deputy head I don't know what I would do without him.
    Sometimes on a Friday evening I get home and shut the door knowing I cannot bear to hear anyone say my name before Monday morning. Get out there and maintain your social/family life anyway you need that balance!
    Exercise...seriously... I smash the CoG/awful parent/coffee machine gossip/'s face round the squash court twice a week [​IMG] If you know what I mean
    Take a least half of the holidays off in a block...you need it. Deal with all the horrid stuff first thing in the morning. Its like ripping off the plaster.
    If you want to have someone to talk to who has no real major answers but totally understand where you are coming from pm me.


     
  9. jellandy

    jellandy New commenter

    Have sent you a p.message.
     
  10. headforheights

    headforheights New commenter

    A big thank you to everyone who has posted or sent me messages. You have all been so supportive. It sounds as though everyone feels much the same at times I just want to build up my resilience for coping with these periods.
    I hope that everyone has a lovely weekend.
    [​IMG]
     
  11. I too have felt exactly the same. Into my second year of first headship and hate confrontation. I have found that my reslience is building up from experiencing these negative situations and coming though unscathed. I've gradually developed more confidence and accepted that this comes with the job. View each incident as another step along the way to greater resilience. I have also built up a good network of heads in local schools who I can call on when things get really tough and they have always been supportive and helpful.
    Take care of yourself - remain focussed on the positives and keep talking - knowing others feel and experience the same can be very reassuring!

     
  12. I too agree with the above postings. However, it's also worth remembering that you can only be responsible for your own emotions and reactions to things - not every body else's. When an angry parent comes through your door (or an angry staff member) their emotions are their own and are the result of all sorts of things - not all of them linked to you or the school (previous experiences, home life, side of bed they got out of...). We tend to assume that everything is our fault and that every angry parent is justified when sometimes they're just venting because you're the public face of education/ the government!
     
  13. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Just a message of support really.... Away from professional advice on managing the workload some 'hippy' advice - Lavender oil burner in your office and treat yourself to a coffee machine/ quality tea/ posh mineral water stash :)
     
  14. Don't always be available to parents! This is clearly an issue. You must balance the demands of the job. They are taking advantage of your kindness. Staff may also be leaving you to sort their problems. Office staff must try and triage all requests by insisting on appointments and asking what they want to speak about. This will give you a chance tot investigate and decide who is the best person to deal with the issue. People often need to cool off and reflect before speaking to school. Parents must behave on site and don't meet them alone if they are aggressive. Remove their licence to come on site if threats or bad language emerge. If it is a class issue, the Teacher must be present. Tell your teachers how dealing with so many parents is causing you stress, look at the parental issues together and talk to parents about what would improve the school for them.
     
  15. How about Ofsted in the morning!!! Just beware, they have come early!
     
  16. Just to be hugely unprofessional for a moment - take a 'working at home' day ....

    and don't
    don't work
    watch daytime crappy telly - let it anaesthetise your brain - let yourself feel really naughty and bad - then get on and do the most important stuff.
    Put your deputy in charge for a dy - spend money on his/her supply cover - see it as an investment in you being able to do the job better in the near future

    and more seriously....
    The feelings you describe sound like panic/anxiety attack
    Breathe out
    it's very Very relaxing - helps you (well me) to moderate the uneven, rapid, breathholding habit that comes with times of great tension/stress/anxiety.
    And of course you breathe in too.
    But remembering to breathe out really helps.

    Do you have any links/networks/buddies among local heads?
    Someone to e-mail, phone, have a coffee with is a real help - at least you know it's not just you - there are others in the same position - and that in itself makes you feel better.
    By the way I'm not a HT (yet - I shall keep trying) - but o/h is and all your issues are hers too and the links she has with neighbouring HTs help her a lot.
    And she occasionally has Work at Home days - but I've yet to know her watch Homes Under The Hammer when she could be writing ANOTHer report for Govs.

    Take care of yourself - YOU are important - get some rest - have a break - USE YOUR DEPUTY!!!
    And be kind
    to you

    Em
     
    artbinki likes this.

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