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Nobody ever looks after me as headteacher

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Marshall, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. freckle06

    freckle06 Lead commenter

    Sadly I think it does. Hierarchies exist in school and I'm inclined to think heads are quite isolated. I don't think staff are inclined to praise as that would look like they're after something, unless they know you outside the work environment ax a 'real' person.
  2. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    So sad. Not denying this is probably sometimes true, but I just appreciated praise without questioning it. Naive?
    Also, OP, people might feel cheeky saying 'well done' to a head-the culture now seems to be fear.
  3. veneris

    veneris New commenter

    Do they thank and praise each other? If not, it may be worth some training on emotional intelligence and building a team culture. It shouldn't all come from you!

    I would hope that your SIP points out all the positives and speaks a few timely words of praise in your appraisal. If not, you should consider changing them.

    Staff in my school do praise each other, including me. I take no credit for this as they have always done it. I'm not sure they praised the previous head but they have always done so with me since I arrived a few years ago. Not everyone feels comfortable doing that but a lot do.

    Are you feeling a bit fed up? Make sure if you are that you don't miss the little things that staff or governors might do which are praise and thanks e.g. they might say how great an initiative which you put in place is rather than directly mention you. That is your pat on the back. They may show they care if you have a streaming cold or have mentioned one of your family is poorly - their caring is thanks for you as school leader.

    Finally your SLT really need to look out for each other, even if the SLT is just you and your deputy - actually even more so if it's the two of you. You may need to explain this explicitly to them. Heads and deputies do routinely thank and praise each other because they work closely and can see when the other needs it. I am lucky that my whole SLT does this for each other and there are quite a few of us. Have the confidence to ask your SLT about how things have gone. Create a culture of mutual appreciation, not just you appreciating everyone else. The media and government are very happy to criticise us so countering that by appreciating each other is a very sensible way of looking after our mental health.

    I will be disagreed with on my next point: a strong leader does not need to be an invulnerable fortress. If it is your style to operate in a different manner, you share that with many other strong leaders who do things their own way.
  4. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    I had had a particularly bad day when I posted and I have reflected since. A teaching assistant washed my empty coffee mugs up yesterday - just took them off my desk and walked out. A parent told me her child loved my lessons (I teach 2 days a week - small school headteacher) because they were always exciting, I had loads of help for a film club I ran during the week - parent volunteers. The children were absolutely fabulous during remembrance day yesterday - so reverent and respectful. All this is thanks and I need to remember these moments!
    rosiecg, Stevek and needabreak like this.
  5. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter

    We do this little thing where, if staff want to thank someone for going above and beyond or helping them out, they put it on a post it note and put it in a tin in the staff room. They are read out every few weeks or so at lunchtime when all the staff are together. The headteacher is very much included in this. It's a way of people being able to thank others without the embarrassment of coming across as a sycophant. It's only a small touch and it's not overdone, takes no effort to organise and it's very much optional, but my goodness it works wonders for staff morale. Everyone feels appreciated.
  6. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    I've just had to take some time off. It's always interesting (to me), to see who bothers to ask if I am feeling better, who is cross I've had the audacity to be ill, and who hasn't even noticed I've been away!
    Jesmond12 likes this.
  7. Gemini25

    Gemini25 New commenter

    I'm not a head nor even SLT but our head has had a particularly awful week (can't say too much) and was tearful this morning in staff briefing. On this occasion, I really do feel for them, genuinely, from one human being to another. I popped in at break time today to tell them exactly what I thought (which was that in my mind the situation is very unfair on them and that, on this one, they have my full support). They told me that they really appreciate hearing this from me as although I don't do this kind of thing often I always say what I genuinely think and so they knew that it was real and not me just saying it out of a sense that I 'have' to or for any personal gain. I guess what I mean is, it depends on the relationships you have with people as to how to give and take praise. I personally don't take praise very well at all and never have done, I find it embarrassing and it makes me uncomfortable so I'd personally hate it all the time but for some people it brings out the best in them.
  8. Laughing Gravy

    Laughing Gravy New commenter

    It is tough at the top as they say and if you are a Head teacher, then expect nothing. It could be argued that if you are doing your job well then nobody says anything, especially not praise. That is what you are getting paid for.If you are doing a bad job you can bet your teachers, parents, board and community will let you know.
    It is often lonely as the head teacher and if you can share your concerns, worries and problems with another head this will help. Take self praise from what you have done, as others have said.
    Sistersarah, Jesmond12 and install like this.
  9. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    I know it's tough at the top and I don't expect (or want constant!) praise. Just the occasional thanks. We are CofE Voluntary Aided school and our whole ethos is about praise and celebration.
  10. GeordieKC

    GeordieKC Occasional commenter

    In some roles "silence is golden", if someone says you are doing great you worry are they being sycophantic or you are desperately waiting for the "but" - the Head is one of those roles. Just remember virtually every time you say well done to a teacher or a student you played an important role in making what they did possible!

    My first Head was the best I have ever worked for, at the time I knew he was good, but it is only many years later that I can say he was FANTASTIC and absolutely critical in shaping my views about the teaching, learning and how to manage students.
    Stevek likes this.
  11. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    Maybe this whole ethos has just made praise and celebration meaningless? Or maybe there is nothing your staff feel they have to praise your for?

    I only give praise if I truly mean it, never ever as [art of any sort of policy or quota.

    I completely include head teachers in the people I give praise to, if I have a valid reason to, and that is the same when I am a governor of a school or a support staff
  12. yellowflower

    yellowflower Occasional commenter

    Please let me work for you :D. My previous headteacher never praised anyone ever, hence the very low morale in the school. The thinking being if she complimented someone, they'd soon slack. *rolling eyes*
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I think we worked in the same school. We even had an INSET session about why only terrible SLTs would ever praise their staff!!!

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