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N.H. Teacher Retirements Slightly Increased In 2021 Fiscal Year

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The number of New Hampshire public school teachers retiring this year increased slightly from previous years.

According to the New Hampshire Retirement System, around 650 teachers retired this fiscal year. That’s a 7 percent increase from last year, but on par with levels a few years ago.

Teacher turnover during the pandemic was a concern for school districts and teachers unions, which updated their contracts several times because of changes due to COVID-19. Navigating online classes, monitoring health risks, and struggling to keep students engaged took a toll on students, teachers and parents.

Heidi Foster, a former English teacher at Hollis Brookline High School, says the physical and mental stress drove her to early retirement last month.

“I think we're enculturated to think that teachers will give up everything because it's a mission, and forget that it's also a job,” she says. “I came into this as wide-eyed and bushy-tailed and positive as every one of my colleagues, but it takes so much to do what we do.”

Foster says some of her colleagues pondered retiring this year, but they want at least one more normal teaching year before finishing their career.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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