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Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by freddiecider, Oct 3, 2016.
My feelings precisely! I never feel that I've caught up at all......
This whole discussion has got me reflecting on the situation of Headteachers and School Leaders - it's so apparent that there's a systemic lack of support being provided. Headship can be one of the most isolating and stressful jobs and yet Heads often feel they can't turn to those around them to honestly and openly discuss what they're going through. Spoke to a Head the other day who said she can't speak about her struggles to:
- Her SLT as it might dampen their motivation
- Her governors/LA as they'll think she's not up to the job
- Any of her staff, as she's worried it might undermine her authority
- Other Heads due to worries it'll get back to her
- Even her husband, as she doesn't want to depress her home life
I know that for me one of the hardest things to do as a Headteacher, was finding someone neutral to talk to about my questions, doubts and feelings about the role. Having left the role, I now see that learning to embrace our vulnerabilities is one of the most courageous and bravest things any human-being can do.
Which has got me thinking about where I can help - have decided to begin offering free headteacher support calls for Heads who feel overwhelmed, isolated and stressed by the reality of Headship as a way to try and tackle this - http://www.integritycoaching.co.uk/headteacher-support-call-viv-grant
Effectively, I just think that every Head needs a safe and confidential space to talk openly and honestly about the challenges of school leadership and to find meaningful solutions for overcoming them as Heads shouldn't have to struggle through this alone.
Do you think this would be useful, if not for you, then for other HTs?
Yes I think it would be helpful
I am not a Headteacher but perhaps the time has come for Headteachers to unite and fight for more rights...if it really matters
After 13 years as a headteacher I have finally come to accept that I can never be up to date. I have stopped trying and the relief is immense!
I have witnessed at first hand too many Headteachers suffering from stress and work fatigue - they just need to trust in each other more and fight for a work - life balance..
But most of all...stop trying to do the impossible .
May I say, from a governor's viewpoint, how disappointed I feel that so few heads seem to value and get on with the governing body. After a career in teaching I volunteered to become a governor because I genuinely wanted to continue to make a contribution. The governing body of which I am a part, do have social occasions when we provide coffee and cake for all staff members. We do go to open days, parent consultation evenings, summer fairs, all the usual school events.
My experience has been quite different and I feel sidelined and an irrelevance in school life. I have spent hours and hours doing things for school, am considerably out of pocket financially and am close to resigning.
I still hate it and now I am ill in bed. Totally exhausted and full of a cold.
Basically I fear I must now admit that I've made a grave mistake and need to rethink my options.
Despite the fact that the children are fantastic, parents are hugely supportive and most of the teachers are doing a grand job unfortunately I can't keep up. Some domineering characters in other roles are really dragging me down and beginning to affect the moral of the rest of the team. In fact, they really would be subject to disciplinary if I'm honest. Haven't got the energy to go down this route. I've failed already.
Who will now employ a failed headteacher who could only hack it for three weeks?
I've sent you a PM, please don't make any decisions until you've spoken to someone Freddie.
I think this may be your real issue .You need to ensure policies are followed - get someone reliable and capable to investigate then involve the necessary people to decide best actions...
Whatever you do get support to do your role - you need another experienced Head to help you...the school should pay for this support.
Or get your deputy head vacancy sorted out. You will not realise how much pressure that will ease.
You cannot do everything on your own. Believe me as I have been there twice before.
I'm free on Monday if you'd like to talk it over - perhaps we can find some solutions, talking these things through even over the phone can make a real difference.
When I told my GP about being sick every morning and the constant stomach knot of dread and panic she was worried I was close to having a heart attack.
When I told her about the terrors, the mood swings, the fear and nerve jangling anticipation of the next b4stard thing to happen, she called it hypervigilence and again was concerned for my heart.
The nightmares, short temper, hand-wringing, eczema and obsessive need to talk about school, think about school, and to work work work just in case.......
That was diagnosed as ptsd.
It's not "the best job in the world".
It's a job. A ******* hard job that nearly killed me.
But still, a job. Just a job
And it can be left.
If it's wrong, it's wrong.
Listen to your heart, that gut feeling is there for a reason.
Take time off to think.
Get some space.
Get some air and some peace.
Get in touch with who you are again.
And if you decide to go, so be it.
You don't owe anyone anything.
Take care all
To post a comment on a thread by an overworked, over-stressed and over-burdened headteacher about how you feel disappointed by heads' attitude towards gov bodies is thoughtless, insensitive and crass.
Absolutely. Start a thread of you own by all means but don't hijack this one; this thread has been of great comfort to me over my current anxieties with the job. It seems a lot of what I feel is quite common yet we're all too quiet about it!
I used to work in Insurance and I hated Sunday evenings as they made me physically sick.
When I became a teacher those feelings disappeared and even though I have had some difficult times as a HT I would always look forward to work.
Until now that is. I have those dreaded butterflies, I feel sick and I know it's time to go soon. I have decided that I am going to keep going to the end of this school year and then retire.
Actually now that I have written that I suddenly feel much better.
It is really sad that things have come to this and Ofsted have much to answer for.
I too have decided to resign and am looking to leave in the summer. As well as all the various pressures I also think I'm too brittle to be a head and take things to heart too easily. Being a head is a huge responsibility and any criticism of the school by anyone is mulled over at length by me and it affects the way I sleep, behave with my family and at the end of the day, this is just a job!
Very sad to write this.
You have described me to a T. I take things to heart and any criticism or grumbles from parents really hurts.
I'd suggest you need to step back a mo and think about what is going to have most impact on your children.
Yes, the caretaker may be grumpy .. and probably a chance to be involved in Appraisal would give you a chance to at least have a chat with them about how they feel about work - but if you have to let something go, perhaps this is the one. Just be incredibly smiley every time you see them. I've been coping like this for 4 years and gradually it starts to have an effect!!
Look at what meetings you can cancel.
Likewise emails. Get someone else to filter the **** that comes into the main school inbox and don't let parents email your work email.
If something is urgent, the sender will call you rather than email.
Try putting on an auto-reply and automatic delete over half term - so you can at least catch up without even more stuff arriving....
Sorry - I don't mean that to read as if I know all the answers. I wish I did.
I drink far too much wine and wouldn't have survived without the fabulous support of my GP.
I think taking criticism personally is something we all tend to do - and it's because we care. And it is very difficult when you can't be completely honest with the community about some stuff e.g. personnel issues.