Metro School Principal Resigns After Getting Burned Out

Posted at 10:43 PM, Jul 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-22 00:04:42-04

Tim Drinkwine became one of the many educators who decided to leave the his field due to the high-stress environment and long hours that were demanded.

He works part-time at the Cookery at 12th Avenue South, a local non-profit serving the homeless. Drinkwine serves at the cafe for a few days but the 37-year-old use to serve his community differently.

"So I was an assistant principal for four years, and then I was a lead principal like an executive principal for 3 years," he said.

So why did he give up a six figure income to work part-time?

Drinkwine will tell you, his short answer is he felt burned out.

"It's very common to leave your home in the dark, and to return to your home in the dark, it can be a grind," he said.

Drinkwine resigned after the school year ended. He said his time overseeing a Metro elementary school was amazing but tough to balance family and work. 

"For me, I had to push the pause button and notice that I was rarely seeing them and when I was seeing them my family was getting my leftovers and I wasn't able to lead them and love them the way that they really need," he said.

"It's important to have a healthy balance and consider what is the impact on the students because if they see someone who is jaded, who is not excited to be there every day, it's going to affect them in a negative way," director of teacher education assessment at Lipscomb University Megan Parker Peters said. 

Peters said school educators feeling burned out isn't new but people are talking about it more.

Junior High, the director of undergraduate education, taught in Metro Nashville Public Schools for 31 years.

High left the public school system 16 years ago and said he thinks getting burned out has increased in recent year from his experience.

"So much of it depends on the experience that teachers are having, if they've had a difficult group of students or they've had lack of support from the parent group, various circumstances that come into play, sometimes it's easy to get discouraged," High said.

High said having support from others does help because everyone wants to make a difference in the lives of children.

Peters said having seasoned staff members mentor younger ones can help that support system.

"Our state has shown us that our candidates coming to the field of education has been dwindling for quite some time. So it's hard to get candidates to enter the classroom once they're there it's hard for us to keep them there," Peters said.

Drinkwine said his passion to serve others will always be in his DNA, perhaps for now in a different way. He said he will consider teaching or leading a school system again in the future.