This shirt was a Christmas present from the school I was working at full-time from September to the end of this past November. Glenhaven Academy is a residential school in Central Massachusetts for students with severe behavioral and emotional issues (for more info, see http://www.jri.org/glenhaven/ ). I took the job teaching there because the American Cancer Society had started doing pay-cuts and lay-offs, and I thought it would be a good time to get back into education after a little break. Right after I started there, they laid off the Hope Lodge office assistant, so it was just me and my boss left to hold down the fort. I would get up, teach from 8-4, come back, and be working at Hope Lodge until I left for Glenhaven in the morning.
Unfortunately, after about two months, this schedule caught up to me. I was getting sick just about every other week, my Crohn’s Disease was flaring up more than it usually did, and my body was telling me it was just too much. On top of all the physical symptoms, there was “outside of school” prep work I had to do at Hope Lodge. Although I think the guests understood I had things to do for school, I always felt bad knowing it was my job to give them my attention and be there to either talk to them or help them forget about their cancer.
The decision to stop working at Glenhaven full-time was one of the most difficult I have made my entire life. I knew the students had histories of many people “quitting” on them (teachers included), and I knew no matter what I said they would probably think I was doing the same. In addition to the students, the people I worked with at G.A. made my decision very hard. I have worked at several other programs, and this group of teachers and staff are some of the most dedicated I have ever had the pleasure of working with.
When I let the education director know about my decision, I was very happy when she said I could still be a part of Glenhaven Academy on a part-time volunteer basis. So even though I am not teaching, I still run an after school writing/publishing group. Only a few students are part of it, but we are putting together a book of poetry and are going to publish it soon…more details on this to follow…
Thanks for the shirt GA...I appreciate all of you!!!