Everyone can use support in their careers, full stop. But what many people don’t realise is that the further you progress in your career, the more support you need. While most assume that once they get to the Head teacher spot, they no longer need support, or that they can continue with the level of support they had as teachers, that couldn’t be less true. Heads need unique support because of challenges like:
Headship is a lonely job, and without the right support you can become incredibly isolated. As a teacher, no matter what kind of challenges you’re facing, you’re still surrounded by a group of people, in your school, who are undergoing similar challenges, but as a Head, you’re on your own.
Similarly, as a Head, the buck stops with you in a way that you couldn’t have imagined as a teacher. The huge pressure that creates on you would be hard to deal with in any situation, but when you add in the low trust/high accountability culture that’s so prevalent in our school system, it can be crippling.
While you have to deal with the complexities of behaviour and relationship dynamics in your class and with your colleagues as a teacher, it can’t compare to doing the same thing for all of the classes and staff in a school, the governors, parents, politicians, and the myriad other stakeholders. When you’re thrown into the deep end of these complex dynamics, it’s almost impossible not to become overwhelmed.
Besides the pressures of school, many Heads face enormous amounts of pressure in their home life simply because of the nature of the job. With divorce and depression increasingly common among Heads, getting support for your emotional life as a school leader is critical.
If all of these challenges go unaddressed, there’s no way that you can be a great school leader. But the good news is that there is another way. By getting the help you need from a neutral party with no agenda other than your own, you can not only make it through your Headship, you can create a culture of change within your school that benefits everyone.
If you’re going through these challenges and would like to explore how Headship could be different for you, we’d love to have that conversation with you. Email us at email@example.com or call 0208 767 7664 to set up a short, no strings conversation.