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

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

  1. simonCOAL

    simonCOAL Occasional commenter

    My apologies. I imagined that the delegation problems were due to smaller school size (I think I must have merged two threads in my mind). It tends (but not exclusively) to be a small school rather than large school issue. How often on here do we hear about large SLTs all fighting for more leadership time at the expense of their teaching load.

    As Marshall says, it will be the contacts you make that will help. Nothing more to add I'm afraid. Except add my very best wishes.
  2. Nowayout

    Nowayout New commenter

    Don't apologise. I'm just thankful for people taking the time to respond.
    Problem is that the general day to day issues are time consuming enough. Teachers are under immense pressure to meet the expectations of the curriculum with their classes , all of them are hugely dedicated.
    Tasks that need sorting seem huge.
    I absolutely know that a non teaching dep head would enable me to sort this but we don't have the funds.
  3. bed

    bed New commenter

    "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.....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."

    This is the bit that stuck out for me - this says to me that you're not well and need some time off.
    You've identified that you are suffering low mood - tho you put it in terms of your family suffering from it. Low mood translates very slyly into full-on depression without you ever seeing the join.
    the disturbed sleep, sick feeling and flutterings are classic symptoms of a growing anxiety disorder. This may not sound like much but your described symptoms indicate a build up of stress chemicals (like cortisol for instance) that can have very adverse effects on the body. Particularly the heart.
    You also write like you cannot see any alternative way of doing things and yet colleagues on here have posted all sorts of helpful advice and ideas.
    That indicates that you aren't necessarily thinking as clearly as you want to or normally can. Another effect of suffering from stress.
    I would recommend taking some time off - starting right now.
    Go to your GP and tell her/him exactly what you've written here - plus all the other stuff you didn't write because you didn't want to sound whingy.
    Your GP should take your blood pressure and will probably want to sign you off for a bit.

    Time off = rest, pause, space, time to think.

    Please look after yourself because - believe me - NO-ONE else in education will.
    LA/other HTs will offer support, but you need to look after yourself.

    Take care
  4. Lattelady

    Lattelady New commenter

    Firstly, you are not on your own, every head I have ever worked with feels just like you especially when they start because no matter how much you think you know about a school you do not know everything.

    Now let's start doing something practical, do you have another Head who is you mentor and who you can have a bloody good moan with? if not, think about one that you like and call them. Next call your GP, you need some help and maybe that help in the short term is pharmaceutical in nature... go talk to your GP.

    As to the problems you think you cannot cope with, take one and like an elephant, eat it in small chunks, it will soon disappear. Share the problems out, you have ultimate responsibility but it does not mean you have to solve everything on your own. The SLT is there for a reason, have you left behind the responsibilities you had as a DH or are you still carrying those too?

    Talk to your Chair of governors, they are a sounding board too, have a full and frank discussion as to what is keeping you awake at night... it might be just the same for them. I have been a Chair for 25+ years and had one Head who was bricking it in case Ofsted wanted to look at the fire extinguisher records... they didn't.

    There is a reason you have this job, it is because you are really good and were the best on the day, never forget that!
    tedhat, Lara mfl 05 and mms1 like this.
  5. mms1

    mms1 Occasional commenter

    Pay close attention to the above...very wise and supportive words. A great post fromLattelady
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  6. Nowayout

    Nowayout New commenter

    Thank you all once again. A few days last week were 'ok' but I'm back to that awful feeling of dread each day.
    I've tried, I really have. I simply cannot cope with everything I need to do. This is a job for someone who has more inner grit than me. I'm too sensitive........
    I want to leave now as I feel I'm making the school worse not better as each day goes by......
  7. mms1

    mms1 Occasional commenter

    I've PM'd you. A lot of what you are feeling is perfectly normal for a new Head. You had a few good days - build on that.
  8. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Hello all
    I carry out video interviews for TES, which are sent out to 20,000 school leaders and are then followed up with a live webchat.
    Would anyone on this thread be willing to take part? We would (I imagine) have to find a way of disguising you (not sure yet how we might do that), but really interested to see whether anyone would be willing to explore the option so that we can highlight the strain you're under.
  9. mms1

    mms1 Occasional commenter

    Support for new Heads is hit and miss at best. With Local Authorities feeling the pinch there is precious little resource to support Heads as they navigate their way through the first few years. I am sure there are exceptions to this rule and I speak only from personal experience and that of my peers locally. It shouldn't be that a new Headteacher feels so isolated and overwhelmed that their only option is to appeal to a web forum. It's hardly surprising there is an impending crisis in recruitment of Headteachers.
  10. spirulla

    spirulla New commenter

    Nowayout I recognise your story. It was mine too. I followed my instincts and got out. Have not regretted that decision for a single second since. Opportunities have opened up in ways I could never have imagined. What is your life worth to you? My best friend (also left headship) "They could pay you 4 million quid and it wouldn't be enough". No-one is indispensable. I chose life and it worked out well. The relief alone kept me going for years.
    Sundaytrekker and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  11. jolyness

    jolyness New commenter

    I would like to echo the posts that say take some time out as your health is more important than keeping on top of policies etc.
    Spirulla: where would one go to find job opps for ex headteachers? What did you find?
  12. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    I feel that my position is now untenable. I just can't cope any more with being bullied by some governors Including the chair of governors.
    Good luck to everyone.
  13. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Having read everyone of these posts (more than once) and having been in my post for 14 years I can recognise everything - been there and done that. All this is troubling me - I can relate to everything BUT what about the reason why we do the job? The children? If no-one looks after us as heads then who will ultimately look after the children? This has a far wide ranging issue than what we are discussing here.

    I could explode:(

    Sorry Digoryvenn for your situation. Hypothetically - ask s/he to run the school for a few days and they will soon realise what a challenging role this is.
    Jesmond12, digoryvenn and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  14. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    You must be very strong Marshall to have survived for 14 years.
    Can you share some advice please?
  15. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Not strong - no. It still hurts when anyone criticises me. The problems have got bigger over the years and less manageable. What advice would I give? Go back to the children. If paperwork if getting on top of me I go into a class and sit with the kids - I often disrupt their learning and we then all laugh! One of the best things is still teaching 2 days a week - it keeps me grounded. It's also one of the worst things - planning, teaching, marking etc. One other thing - I don't jump on the latest bandwagon of thoughts and implement them. I do what works/will work for our kids. 3 OFSTEDs down and never, ever been criticised for NOT doing things! Not a very coherent post I'm afraid but will give it some more thought!
    Jesmond12 and digoryvenn like this.
  16. Nowayout

    Nowayout New commenter

    I'm actually getting to the point where I'm relying on this forum
    Those taking the time on here to comment are helping sooooo much!

    I have governors issues too. Mine are pleasant enough but quick to question in bucketloads but less swift in supporting or helping........

    Aggressive parents whose children can do no wrong is my current hot potato.

    I hate it all
  17. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Parents - tell them that if they feel the school is not meeting their child's needs (seems more like their needs!) then perhaps they should find a school that can. Be strong and forceful even though you might be quaking inside. Strictly speaking you shouldn't do this BUT it does work. Remember YOU are in charge NOT them! It took me 5 years to get to this point and it sounds easy but it's not. Trouble is you need to do it or others will start to walk all over you.

    Do you have a hierarchy of who they see first? eg teacher first then SLT then you? If not - get it in place as it can often be diffused earlier before it gets to you. Also - give them a copy of the complaints policy and ask them to do it formally - most won't. Have an appointment system and don't be at their beck and call - they wouldn't do it to their doctor so why us?

    Don't stand for aggression. Warn them first and then ask them to leave - they have no right to be aggressive to you.

    You know when a child says they can't and you reassure them and tell them to be positive - please try and do this yourself. I know it's hard.

    Everything I have said is hard and difficult to do but it is also so empowering when you do it the first time.

  18. Nowayout

    Nowayout New commenter

    Great advice - thank you .

    The harsh reality is that my personality isn't suited for this job. The school is too big for me, I can't spin the plates and I resent the job for taking my time away from my own children. I'm not skilled enough with things I should know more about because my heart and soul is on teaching and learning. Can't remember when I last did that .

    My most enjoyable moments are when I do assemblies and can get whole school messages across to help the wonderful ethos the school has. I love those moments in the corridors with children and the times they are sent to me for wonderful work.

    The background stuff is dull, stressful and totally unmanageable for me
    Jesmond12 likes this.
  19. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    OK - you have said it yourself - you need to get out. You only live once.
    Nowayout likes this.
  20. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Thanks Marshall for your great advice.
    I seem to be making the simplest of mistakes.
    I haven't been strong enough and people are starting to walk all over me.
    No, I don't have an appointment system.
    No, I don't have a hierarchy of who they see first.
    I shall put these in place Monday morning.
    The hardest thing is to be in charge!

    Time for a new me on Monday morning.

    Thank you Marshall for taking the time to respond.
    Everyone is so helpful; I have had fantastic advice from Nomad as well.
    Marshall, Nowayout and Lara mfl 05 like this.

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