I have been so fortunate in having the backing of Bloomsbury Publications, who were prepared to commission the book on the basis of a two-page synopsis some eighteen months ago. This was probably less a comment on my writing ability, than a recognition that, managing stress and staying resilient is becoming so important in a fast changing world, where many people struggle with the constant and shifting demands made of them. Few people feel they are able to talk about the issue of stress for fear of how they will be judged by others. The result? Many people battle on, often tired, with a limited number of coping strategies and sometimes unable to see the wood for the tress. For some, things eventually come to a head. I know, because in 2007, I was, one of those people. I was away from work for over five months.
Leading From the Edge, tells my story but more importantly, it outlines the symptoms of stress that I failed to spot in myself and the things that I have learned about myself since then. Working with me as an adviser on the book has been Chris Roome, a registered mental nurse (RMN) with over forty years’ experience of working in psychiatry in Derbyshire. Together, we have made sure that the book is packed with a wide variety of practical strategies to help recognise and over-come stress. Topics covered include advice on sleep, nutrition, breathing, confidence, time- management and dealing with anxiety & panic.
Whilst the book is set against my own background of 25 years in teaching, these strategies and exercises are applicable to people from all walks of life. Stress is stress, afterall.
There are also chapters offering advice on dealing with difficult staffing and parent situations as well as dealing with school inspections.
Interspersed, throughout the book are interviews with plenty of tips for managing stress from education leaders who have stayed resilient over time. These include Heads of a wide variety of sizes of schools, in Primary, Secondary and Special Education.
Also featured are interviews with Steve Munby, Former Chief Executive of the National College of School Leadership and currently Chief Executive of CfBT Education Trust, and Chris Thinnes, Educator and Consultant in the USA, who offers an international perspective.
With an introduction by international speaker and author, Richard Gerver and a back cover endorsement with highly respected Headteacher, Vic Goddard (Channel 4’s Educating Essex)
Leading From the Edge: A School Leaders’ Guide to Recognising and Overcoming Stress’ is out now and available to order on Amazon.See all James's blog posts