To the Editor:
I am an assistant elementary principal who resigned this past summer, so I was intrigued by the opinion essay “We’re Facing a Looming Crisis of Principal Burnout” (Oct. 21, 2021) by David E. DeMatthews.
I’m constantly amazed when I see essays and articles assume that principal burnout is happening because principals and administrators agree with the policies and mandates coming down from states and the federal government but can’t deal with the backlash of the community members, students, and staff. I’m sure there are cases like that, but I think the bigger source of burnout is because (like in my case) principals do not agree with the policies and mandates themselves, especially when it comes to things like COVID-19 and various social/political agendas getting forced into public schools.
The state and federal governments are asking administrators to implement policies that often go against our beliefs; we are being forced to go against our consciences in many cases. That is where the main source of burnout is coming from: It’s not from the backlash to the policies, it is the policies themselves.
Former Assistant Principal
A version of this article appeared in the November 17, 2021 edition of Education Week as Reconsidering Causes of Principal Burnout