Head teacher blues. How it can be hard at the top. October 3, 2016 News I was speaking with a successful head teacher recently. They said that the most difficult aspect of their job was aggressive parents. This was what they found hardest about being a head. ‘But haven’t you always had to face difficult parents as a teacher?’ I asked. ‘I have,’ he said. ‘But there’s a difference. When you’re a teacher, you always have the head to cover your back, to hold you. Now I’m the head, I hold everyone else – but there’s no one to hold me.’ Here was the vulnerability of the leader: ‘Who’s looking after me?’ To which one answer is: yourself. It’s nice to feel held by others; and good leadership does this…it holds people. But if we are to lead, we’ll also need to develop the ability to hold ourselves; to self-parent, in a way. Every leader needs the ability to check in with themselves; to kindly ask themselves, ‘What are you feeling today? What do you most need?’ Wise leaders have support networks, people they can check in with. The wisest also check in with themselves.