Michael Whaland knows New Hampshire’s teacher staffing challenges better than most: He wrote his dissertation about it.
As part of his doctor of education degree at Plymouth State University in 2020, Whaland, a former teacher, spent months studying schools in rural New Hampshire to find out why some schools saw teachers leave and others saw them stay.
“I was noticing early in my career that, hey, a lot of people I started with aren’t here anymore, and (thought) what’s going on?” he said in an interview.
Now, Whaland is a superintendent of School Administrative Unit 13, covering the towns of Madison, Tamworth, and Freedom. And the staffing headaches are no longer theoretical. While two of his three schools are currently fully staffed, the shortage of paraprofessionals and support staff often requires teachers to take on additional work to bridge the gaps.
“It’s a daily check-in with your principals and just talking with them about how can we make sure that the student is getting what they need?” he said.
The problem has persisted across the state. New Hampshire teachers are increasingly leaving the profession due to increased stress, concerns about school culture, and a desire for more pay, a survey this year has found.
Source : Bulletin