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Please help. I feel there is no way out..........

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Nowayout, Feb 20, 2017.

  1. Nowayout

    Nowayout New commenter

    This could be long. I will try to be brief.

    I've been the head of my school since April. Prior to this I was a loyal assistant head for many years to a head who was extremely well regarded by the whole school community. She was also the head at the school for many, many years. It has always been a successful school although we have had to work extremely hard to get the children where they need to be. We scraped though previous Ofsted inspections.

    A great deal of expectation was on me to take up the Headship. Against my inner instinct , I applied and got it. Sadly I now know that this was a huge mistake.

    To be frank, I have hated every single day in my new role. I'm feel that I am rubbish. I am working 14 hour days and not even touching what I know needs to be done. The day to day running of the school means I can't even get near the catch up stuff that clearly needs to be done to ensure current expectations and systems are as they should be. Many, many policies are outdated, systems archaic and staff organisation is bizarre to say the least in terms of both contracts and their roles. I am bouncing about from one issue to the next without any clear direction as each job is too huge to tackle. Most of my daily routine is taken up with safeguarding issues or pupil welfare. Therefore feel I'm not doing justice to anything. Budget is tight and I do not have the key personnel to support. I do not have broad shoulders. I take every slight issue or problem personally and I dwell on it. Governors are willing but time short.

    I now spend every holiday or spare moment desperately trying to find and think of a way out. I only sleep for snatched 1 hour intervals and always wake up worrying about Ofsted etc . I constantly have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have funny fluttering feelings in my chest. I regularly burst into tears both behind closed doors at school and at home. I have a family suffering from my low mood and anxiety. In truth I hardly see them during the week anyway. I am losing touch with friends as I never get the chance to see them. I feel like I'm letting everyone down. I know I need to get out of this for the sake of my sanity and BEFORE the school suffers.

    Positives - fabulous , well behaved children and teachers who work hard and do their very best. I try to put on a positive facade so that they are not affected.

    I don't want to sound moany I know that the biggest mistake I made was applying for this role in the first place. If only I could turn back time, but I can't. i don't want to sound ' woe is me ' as I know the predicament I'm in is my fault. But what now? I absolutely know that someone out there would do a much better job than me

    I feel like it would be in the best interest to absolutely everyone if I was to leave. However I know this is not allowed and notice needs to be given. I'm just not sure if I can even handle it until the end of the Summer. Also, I worry that me leaving would give yet more unrest to the school as they are only just getting used to a different head as it is. I fear too for the staff in this situation. The pressures on them with the raised end of year expectations is large in itself.
  2. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Sorry to hear that you are not enjoying it.

    I would prioritise what needs to be done. Do you have a DHT. Delegate what you can to the DHT, SLT and subject leaders.

    Remember you cannot do everything and trying to do so will lead to you not achieving anything.
    Nowayout and Sundaytrekker like this.
  3. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Oh No! As a headteacher you need to realise that you are never up date - the sooner you accept that the better.
    Second - ask for help - you have started by posting on here. Do you have a cluster/group of schools/fellow heads that you can ask? Don't be afraid of asking- we have all been there and if they are worth their sale they will understand and help you.
    Third - when is OFSTED due?
    Please private message me - I really would like to help you!
    Nowayout likes this.
  4. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    It often seems that HTs have all the answers and solve problems single handed. What you don't see is how often they are on the phone/ email to head teacher colleagues.

    As Marshall rightly says, a lot of us have been there. You do not need to feel alone no matter how hard it is to realise at the time. Get in touch with local HTs. Hopefully you'll meet them at area meetings. The majority will be only too pleased to try and support you.

    When I started we had a LA adviser assigned to help us through the early days. Gone now, but there is an informal set up. Hopefully you have something similar.
    There will be a lot of empathy (as there is here).
    Nowayout likes this.
  5. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Can I just state right at the beginning that i am not a Head or have been, but have several colleagues who were. i would just like to post to encourage you.

    The most successful Head was one who knew how to delegate. Hence my posting Jesmonds' post . Everyone knew they had the 'final word/decision' but they asked other staff to do a lot of the 'initial legwork'.

    Most teachers feel overawed on any promotion and that is exacerbated with a Headship. especially taking over from one you worked well with and probably admired. (I've know this situation twice in my career.)

    Do you have a SIPs partner or another Head at another School you know to confide in? Use Marshall's suggestion of a PM/Conversation.

    Whatever decision you take long term, make use of whatever help is available to ease your life now.
    Jesmond12 and Nowayout like this.
  6. Nowayout

    Nowayout New commenter

    You are all incredibly supportive- thank you.

    I think the dread of Ofsted coming before I've managed to sort things is making matters far worse.

    Each day seems to bring a totally different challenge or experience that I've not had to deal with before. i spend more time dealing with HR issues or safeguarding - I never really seem to get to the actual teaching and learning issues ........

    Crikey , this job really does seem impossible!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  7. Nowayout

    Nowayout New commenter

    I would pm you Marshall but I can't work out how to!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  8. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    Click on the avatar on the left hand side and the click on "start a conversation "
    Nowayout and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  9. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    We have all been there nowayout!
    At times it does seem to be an impossible job! Everyone has given great advice.
    Keep going, it will get easier!
    I am in my third year and still face new situations. Try to put systems in place to help with all the monitoring and routines etc. Your will never be up to date, try to prioritise.
    Good luck!
    Nowayout likes this.
  10. install

    install Star commenter

    I am not an headteacher, but I have worked with some great ones and awful ones.

    The great ones trusted their leaders to make the right judgements and shared the load everyday... and supported them as much as possible when things went wrong. The awful ones tried to carry the load and showed their panic and it spread....

    Remember - teaching is just a job, and no one is a hero no matter what level they are at.
  11. Nowayout

    Nowayout New commenter

    You are all very supportive indeed - thank you.

    I do find it interesting that you are all urging me to stick at it. But what if I really feel that I can't? I'm worried that I'm sucked into a constant feeling a doom and dread. I long to be free from the heavy feeling of accountability.
  12. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    It does get easier and the feeling of doom and dread does subside somewhat. You need to gain experience and the only way to do that is to stick at it.
  13. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I've been at it for over 10 years now and I still feel doom and dread. I am used to the accountability though it is tough at times.

    If you really want to get out though then only you can make that decision.
    Nowayout likes this.
  14. shaun_clarke99

    shaun_clarke99 New commenter

    Nowayout likes this.
  15. shaun_clarke99

    shaun_clarke99 New commenter

    I am so sorry that you feel as you do but from what you are saying it seems that you are trying to do everything yourself - if the kids are good and the staff are good then you have the platform. You say policies are outdated but you have a number of staff leading in particular areas - get them to write the policies. Your DH should be taking the brunt of the operational work so you can be more strategic - sorry to be blunt but you need to distribute the pressure down your leadership team - good professional development for them.
    Nowayout and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  16. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    How small is the school Nowayout?
    I know of schools with only four or five staff, so a genuine senior leadership team is almost impossible and a deputy head (with decent release time) unlikely.

    And those four or five could be leading two or three subject areas as well as teaching classes that have several year groups and possibly cross key stage.
    If this is your situation, then delegation will be difficult. Even more important to find out how similar local schools approach this.
    Nowayout and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  17. artbinki

    artbinki New commenter

    I'm in a very similar situation , -also since April . If you pm me then would love to share! Do you have academy as we as governors and ofsted breathing down ?
    Nowayout likes this.
  18. Nowayout

    Nowayout New commenter

    The school is huge- 430 pupils. No deputy but two assistant heads who are also class based in key year groups. No money to get deputy either.
    Main difficulty is releasing staff as getting good cover has proven difficult.
  19. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hello @Nowayout,

    Information on how to start a conversation can be found here.

    Hopefully you should have access to the Conversations link in the drop-down menu - if you hover or click on your avatar in the top navigation bar on the far right-hand side of the screen. If you have any problems please can you let me know by emailing TES.Community@tesglobal.com or help@tes.com.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  20. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    We are a 4 teacher school - including me! I have different issues than you as a larger school - I also have a 2 day a week teaching commitment. I have been doing this now for 14 years. Good staff, good children but the accountability and paperwork does get greater - particularly in the last 3 years. It does get easier as you get more experienced but there is always the 'unknown factor' - ie parents and too many others to mention. You do need to have broad shoulders but you MUST form your contacts and support through partnerships and so on. When I first started I didn't think these were important - I couldn't do without them now.
    Sorry, I know this is probably not helping you, but this is the journey you will go through.
    What grounds me - being with the children! As a teaching head this makes me lucky! If I can say anything helpful - go back to what it's all about - the children and don't be afraid to not do what others tell you - do what works for your school!

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