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Work/life balance

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by mbee1, Oct 4, 2017.

  1. mbee1

    mbee1 Occasional commenter

    I'm Chair of Governors and have just checked my school email account this morning to find the Head emailed me at 11pm last night! I've emailed my response to her question and I've mentioned the work/life balance that we try to encourage the rest of staff to adhere to. I'm seeing her tomorrow and feel I ought to discuss it with her. Any thoughts?

    We've discussed it before and she tells me she doesn't work Friday evenings,Saturdays and some Sunday mornings (she has a husband and two teenage children) although Sunday afternoon and evenings are usually a good time for me to check my school email account and usually find one from her. How do other HT's get a balance?
  2. Skychaserhigh

    Skychaserhigh New commenter

    It depends upon your personality type, strength of the school and support from the chair.
    If you can 'switch off' from work then great, not many teachers can though.
    If you are in RI or worse then the looming inspection is a constant worry
    If your chair is sympathetic, supportive and reliable... this helps too.
  3. Startedin82

    Startedin82 Established commenter

    Personally I don't think this is an issue - she is choosing to work to this pattern and as she says she takes most of the weekend off (as she should). My Deputy sends emails after midnight some nights - I don't respond as I'm fast asleep but will respond in the morning if I need to. Some of us are larks some of us are night owls. I'd be more concerned if your HT was emailing staff at 11 pm especially if she was expecting a response. Would send the wrong message.
    Pomz likes this.
  4. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    I don't know, but if you find out, let me know.
    I agree it shouldn't be like this, but it is.
    Whilst I NEVER expect replies, I regularly tackle the email at 4am when I can't sleep.
    Laughing Gravy and Pomz like this.
  5. newbie89

    newbie89 New commenter

    I am in my second year of headship and have no work/life balance. I am hoping it will get easier but I'm not convinced. I am exhausted and often feel overwhelmed. My chair of governors is also very kind and supportive but has yet to tell me which parts of my job I can stop doing. If anyone has the answer to your question I would love to know it (particularly in a small primary school).
    Marshall likes this.
  6. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Really rubbish day. Small school (3 classes) and no teachers in school this morning except for me (timetable clash with a couple of training courses), non-uniform day, film night after school (me and 3 parents and 98% of the school), two unexpected parent appointments before school (urgent), one booked parent appointment for a place in school, my office morning spent trying to sort out planning left for a very able initial trainee teacher which neither of us could understand and I ended up being in class helping teach, hyper kids, one dinner lady down through a cold so I had to do dinner duty plus playground duties because of lack of teachers. Breakfast club leader couldn't get into school for some reason, another new initial teacher trainee waiting for me to show him round before he started his placement, couldn't unlock the main door onto the playground and one toilet blocked and overflowing. One teaching assistant off ill (20%) of our TA staffing. Appointment with a salesman for new soft surfacing plus teaching this whole afternoon before the film club.

    I am exhausted but teaching all day tomorrow so need to plan/refine my lessons.

    My PPA and headteacher directed time is on Thursdays - didn't get it last week due to after school sports club and lack of teacher coverage use of netball tournament) and it won't happen this week either because of the same reason.

    Sorry - needed to rant!

    Back to the OP - it is difficult in schools because we have to be so reactive - especially in a small school - no matter how hard you plan otherwise.
  7. mbee1

    mbee1 Occasional commenter

    I did speak to her and she said she needs to relax a little more but she'd had a bad week with some behavioral problems and found the only time she'd had was 11pm at night. We're not a small school (420 community primary) with a non teaching deputy and very capable staff but she did take my comments on board.
  8. Northhead

    Northhead Occasional commenter

    I have been there. Get out before it damages your health.
    artbinki and Marshall like this.
  9. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Have you got any supply teachers??
  10. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    Can't afford to:( Terminally ill hubby and still got a mortgage.

    Better day today!
  11. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    I am not a troll - this is really my life. Coping really well with it all but yesterday was a disaster!
  12. Northhead

    Northhead Occasional commenter

    Sorry, to clarify, I meant you need to look for a bigger school. Running a small school is fast becoming an impossible job.
    artbinki likes this.
  13. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    Marshall - you might not be able to afford supply, but neither can the school afford for you to go under. So sometimes, you might be better off booking two days of supply to cover so you can breathe. Just a thought.
  14. R13

    R13 Occasional commenter

    Pease be careful in talking to a Head who is working too hard about work/life balance. Don't get me wrong, the conversation is needed and I am pleased you are wishing to take it on, but speaking as one who works longer and later than he should I find it very difficult to hear the subject raised without thinking the person raising it just doesn't realise what the job entails. I'd suggest keeping it very much within your sphere of responsibility and ask if the 2 of you can look at how Governors can reduce the workload that Governors itself creates.
    artbinki, Pomza and cornflake like this.
  15. mms1

    mms1 Occasional commenter

    This is so true, I'm HT at a small rural school and absence coupled with deficit budget has meant I have been teaching for the last 3 weeks as well as trying to at least look like a HT. Paper work lies in a heap on my desk as after school its meetings or phone calls. This better get easier as it can't get any harder!
    Marshall likes this.
  16. Marshall

    Marshall Star commenter

    mms1 - really feel for you. It's so hard.
  17. fiendishlyclever

    fiendishlyclever Occasional commenter

    artbinki likes this.
  18. install

    install Star commenter

    The best ht I ever worked for refused point blank to send emails after 5pm. I am not an ht, but have worked with a fair few, and sadly some do not balance their work and life and impact on those around them at times far too much. It is a tough job but Well done you for pointing it out :cool:
  19. Catjellycat

    Catjellycat Occasional commenter

    I was on a course once and a teacher said that their Head had spoken to all staff to say they were not to send or reply to emails past 5pm. That Head’s reasoning was that if your GP or lawyer or someone else was emailing you at 11pm, you’d be concerned about how they were managing their workload and that it just didn’t look professional. I could never decide if I thought this was a brilliant backhanded way or getting staff to ‘log off’ or a sly way of calling them unprofessional!
    Marshall likes this.
  20. alexanderosman

    alexanderosman Occasional commenter

    If I was spoken to about this, I would save up my emails in drafts and send them in the morning, but would still be working at that time in the evening because I have to to get everything done (I'm not a HT either - can't imagine how teaching heads manage it).

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