Teaching is often described as being one of the caring professions. Yet it has always struck me as strange that although the profession as a whole may be good at caring for the young people in its charge, it has a very poor record of caring for the adults on whose shoulders weigh the greater responsibility of caring for our children.
We need only look at examples of where Headteachers have been let down by the system. For example, how back in 2013 – an extremely sad inquest verdict into the death of Helen Mann, the Worcestershire Head teacher showed that this headteacher had felt such pressure from OFSTED and the school losing its Outstanding rating that she felt no way out other than to take her own life.
This cannot be right. In social work and other related caring professions it is customary for these adults whose working life revolves round meeting the complex emotional needs of parents and children, to have supervision on at least a weekly basis.
– Their time is protected and supported by other individuals.
– Fellow professionals act as a type of facilitator, someone with whom they can reflect on their practice.
– Deep professional learning is facilitated through discussion on of a live practical case or issue that the individual is dealing with.
Focussing on a live current issue or case allows the individual’s learning to be timely, needs centred and contributes to the individual’s ongoing daily practice. Through inquiry into practice he or she is given support that enables meaningful links to be made between theory and practice. Very few school leaders have such privileges.
Supervision also helps to ensure that the individual’s emotions are cared for too and they are not left to flounder and deal with the challenges of the role by themselves. Through boundaried discussion and dialogue they are given a space in which to process their own emotions related to their work.
They are supported in the maintenance of an emotionally healthy inner space, by simply being allowed to talk and reflect on the meaning of their own emotions. There is recognition that our emotions are powerful signals and are another form of language. When listened to they provide us with important insights into our own behaviours, mental states and relationships with others.
The trouble is, in teaching, unlike social work and other caring professions, there has not been a history of supporting teachers and head teachers in this way.
The work that exists around Emotional Intelligence appears to be limited to discourse around leadership development. Seldom is the link made between the difference that emotionally literate support could make to the state of the nation’s schools and the health of its headteachers.
When school leaders seek counsel or emotional support it is often viewed as something that they need only when in a crisis. This is absurd and we believe needs to change for the good of us all!
Getting the Support Every School Leader Needs…
Our School Leaders play a key role in society. They are the guardians of our children’s futures. To succeed in their roles, it is imperative that they are given the emotional and mental support that they need thrive.
When schools are led by grounded, confident, emotionally healthy individuals, they create the environments in which there is a joy and love of learning and children thrive too. For those involved in supporting School Leaders, this should be our ultimate goal.
Yet heartbreakingly, school leaders remain endemically under-supported and, as a result, many leaders are left without anyone to turn to when they are in need of support, clarity, guidance or even just some simple encouragement to keep going.
This isn’t how things should be. That’s why I offer free School Leader support calls to all those who may benefit from a confidential space where they can…
– Talk through the challenges they’re facing
– Get support in locating next steps and finding solutions
– Reflect on recent events and the impact that these have had on them as a leader and as a person
– Gain clarity around their thoughts
If you feel like you’d benefit from a call like this or perhaps know someone who would, please follow the link above!