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Thinking of giving up Headship after two years

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Rebb1, May 10, 2016.

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  1. Rebb1

    Rebb1 New commenter

    Good afternoon,
    I feel so despondent and really considering resigning. I no longer enjoy work. I spend so much time box ticking, being driven mad by parents and in particular governors who only care about SATS and being judged outstanding. Children's enjoyment and happiness is secondary.
    I feel fed up with the whole education system and constant demands and subsequent u-turns. Not listening to those who work with children day in and day out.
    I know I've missed the deadline day so I am going to have to wait until December to leave. I don't know what I would do next. Can't afford big drop in salary but can't continue feeling like this.
    Any advice from anyone who has been in this position would be welcome.
    Thank you
    Keighleigh likes this.
  2. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    I felt exactly the same at your stage.

    You need to change your governors point of view - the children are what it's all about. How you do this? How did I do this? It took several years of getting governors into school, observing etc. I also (with the support of my chair) made this a total focus of our meetings - NOT just OFSTED.

    You need to have the courage of your own convictions - YOU are the leader and manager of the school appointed by the governing body. YOU set the ethos of the school and you need to be in charge and to be seen to be so (to governors and parents). Its hard. There's no easy way to do this.

    Parents- think - why are they driving you mad? What can you change? YOU are the Head!!!

    Education U-turns and the whole system - do only what is needed for YOUR school. Meet only statutory requirements - ditch the rest! It takes real courage but YOU are in charge!

    I really feel for you having been through exactly the same. YOU are in charge. Remember this.
  3. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    All I can say is keep going. After my first year we went into special measures and it was the worst day of my life. I actually cried. However, I vowed to fight back and we came out on our 3rd monitoring visit.

    We all have good days and bad days in what is a very lonely job. (Today was a bad day!) My staff are great and they help keep me going. Try and find a local HT to support you or at least be around to talk to.

    I actually love the job and don't regret becoming a HT. As Marshall said - gave the courage of your convictions. The governors appointed you because they believed in you.
    install and Sistersarah like this.
  4. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    I know how you feel, I have been a head for one and a half years now. It is soooooo hard. Even though the governors appointed me, they do not support me at all. They have changed the line of communication and it is wrong. I have to change my governors point of view somehow and I know it won't be easy. I have learnt that things happen slowly and change for most people is very difficult.

    However, you need to keep going and get stronger. It is about courage. I have had to find a lot of courage and I still don't have enough yet.
    Don't give up yet. Don't let them win. Good luck.
    install and Jesmond12 like this.
  5. welshwales

    welshwales Occasional commenter

    @Jesmond12. I think we've all shed tears along the way, it is without doubt one of the most challenging jobs there is, but I wholeheartedly agree, YOU can-to a degree- still decide what your school does and why..just keep children at the heart of every decision..
    Keighleigh likes this.
  6. Northhead

    Northhead Occasional commenter

    I am so pleased I found this thread; I feel exactly the same at the minute. It does go through its ups and downs but the downs always seem to be very extreme!

    It is certainly lonely at the top.
    Keighleigh likes this.
  7. karlo1981

    karlo1981 New commenter

    Hi! I'm 18 months into headship and regularly feel the same as you - particularly with regard to parents and governors (some of whom are both).

    The advice I would give you is to learn to tune out all of the garbage that comes your way on a daily basis, via the phone, email, office door, playground, post....... and focus on what you heart tells you that your school should be. We've been hired to run our schools, so let's run our schools. There will always be those who present their opinions as fact. But, remember, they are just opinions. I am really trying to grow my Teflon armour, but it is difficult. I guess it comes over time. Pick your battles; dig your heels in with some things, and let others wash. Above all, don't give up. Pick up the phone, call a mate. I have often felt judged by other heads, being the 'new boy' on the block, but they have been incredibly supportive - even if it's just putting the kettle on and letting me have a moan. Concentrate on looking after your staff - because they will look after the children. And above all, look after yourself.

    Best wishes and happy thoughts.
  8. Sistersarah

    Sistersarah New commenter

    I agree with @karlo1981 - I'm still pretty new to the role and feel so inexperienced and clueless compared to the heads around me. However, I have found them so very supportive whenever I have needed advice and have given me time when I've needed to talk about something particularly worrying. Now I know the help and advice is there, I'm less panicky about things in general. Mostly!
    Keighleigh likes this.
  9. Rebb1

    Rebb1 New commenter

    Thank you so much for all your support. It is good to know it is not just me who feels like packing it all in.
    Have a great weekend.
  10. Bluebird1

    Bluebird1 New commenter

    I would not be surprised if the majority of Heads can identify with what you are feeling at the moment. As a Head I love my job but have many 'dark' days when you seem to be fighting the impossible. The level of pressure and expectation on Heads in todays schools is exceptional. This is without doubt fuelled by a government who see accountability as an exercise of creating the greatest fear possible that you will be removed swiftly if you fail to meet the standards they set. The successful and negative propaganda against the profession has also ensured that those outside teaching see this as a fair game. 'I get targets in my job, what's your problem?' they cry. The problem is that education is not a business or a production line. You can not control the multitude of variables and factors that effect children's lives and education. The problems in our society can not be overcome by schools alone. That doesn't change if you become an academy either!

    The advice given so far in this thread is very sensible. Working with a counsellor or educational coach can also be very helpful. PM me if you would like details of one I work with. Above all realise that you are a brave and talented individual to do the job that you do. You are not a failure, it is the system we try to work in that makes us feel like this.
    install and Keighleigh like this.
  11. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Had a bad day yesterday so feel like a failure. Sometimes there just like there are too many problems to solve.
    I think I am going to start looking for a other job but another school might just be the same. I think I am too weak to be a successful headteacher. I take things too personally and the support I have had has been minimal.

    Enough moaning, I know others feel the same. The armour is bit thin today!!
    Have a good weekend everyone.
    Keighleigh likes this.
  12. Bluebird1

    Bluebird1 New commenter

    digoryvenn it's not moaning. Being a head teacher is really tough. It's a wonderful job but some days you can get really battered! You will never solve all the problems or please everyone. We always get treated like premier league football managers 'ready for the sack' if results go wrong. It is worth remembering that you were appointed for being a great and knowlegable teacher, that hasn't changed. Most importantly remember to see criticism as what happens to you in your role as a Headteacher and not you as a person. Have a good weekend too.
    Keighleigh and digoryvenn like this.
  13. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Thank you Bluebird.
    I feel like I am in one of those knife throwing circus acts! The trouble is the knives don't miss!
  14. crezz1

    crezz1 New commenter

    The main trouble is we all take things personally - sometimes they are very personal - and we also take things home with us.
    There are probably so many great things involving children that go on in all our schools on a daily basis - yet it just takes that one outspoken adult, or angry parent, or shirty governor, and that is all we can think about!
    Try and put some of these things in perspective. I try to do this as I am driving home - it is a form of release for me.
    But above all, don't give up, because the children need you!
    Keighleigh, digoryvenn and Northhead like this.
  15. Northhead

    Northhead Occasional commenter

    You speak a great deal of sense (though I confess much of what you say about putting it into perspective is easier said than done).
  16. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    I agree with you northhead, It is difficult to put things into perspective when rude and angry parents turn situations into personal attacks.
    The longer I am a head the harder it is becoming; I thought it would become easier!
    Northhead likes this.
  17. Lord Snooty

    Lord Snooty Occasional commenter

    [This comment/image/section has been removed for disruptive posting]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 19, 2016
  18. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    I was tempted to rise to the bait and respond to Lord Snooty but I shall resist and say..... this site is great, and I have received support and advice during some difficult moments. The anonymity is good, it allows us to share in a safe environment, but it also had a wearisome side.

    I am truly sick of posters , who have clearly had difficult times with their Headteachers, chipping in on what is supposed to be a helpful and supportive threads, making assumptions about people they don't know.

    There are good heads , there are bad..... just like there are great teachers, and some who really are not and should leave. I know my staff are suffering and I do all I can to protect them from the worst of it. It's a big assumption to make that if I sympathise with a peer, I have no sympathy with anyone else.
  19. Jesmond12

    Jesmond12 Star commenter

    I read Lord Snooty's post and was going to reply but I thought that I would not stoop to his level. Your last paragraph is 100% accurate and I completely endorse what you say. I have said before on other posts and threads that the well being of my staff is the most important thing to me and that a happy staff = happy children.
  20. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    It was clearly disrupting the thread.

    As was its intention.

    Best wishes

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