Faculty Reflect on Sabbaticals and Leaves of Absences

A sabbatical is a program in which faculty members, who have taught for at least six years at Andover, are funded to teach and learn from other faculty and cultures around the world. Similarly, a leave of absence allows teachers to travel and work with other faculty abroad; however, leaves of absence are not financially supported by Andover.

Kevin O’Connor

Instructor in English

“[Sabbatical] is a time to travel, to write, to do anything but the usual and expected. I traveled in Vietnam and Cambodia and China. In Shenzhen, China, I taught English for a week at an Upper School, one of whose directors was a former colleague at Andover. I taught part time at the Adult Education Center in Portland, Maine. Most of the students were adults who had recently immigrated from various African countries. They were working for admission to local colleges and were very appreciative of the help that teachers gave them.”

Reverend Anne Gardner

Director of Spiritual and Religious Life and Protestant Chaplain

“I asked to be considered for a sabbatical to reflect on my work here at Andover, for purposes of professional development, and for rest and refreshment… [My favorite part was] traveling to Chicago to volunteer at the Chicago Marathon with three of my former Stevens House Proctors: Daphne Xu ’14, Carrie Ingerman ’15, and Arzu Singh ’16. And secondly, a trip to Italy to see some of the great sites of Christendom, Rome, and Siena in particular.”

William Scott

Instructor in Mathematics and Statistics

“I was writing high school curriculum, and I was training teachers through the New Jersey Center of Teaching and Learning… I was in Africa 75 academic days last year… What always strikes me is the reasons why teachers teach in the United States [are] the same reasons why teachers teach in Africa. Teachers teach because they care deeply about the future about kids and about creating a better future for the children in their country. What motivates me to teach is what motivates my colleagues anywhere in the world, that [our] shared experiences, shared desires are very similar.”

Hijoo Son

Instructor in History and Social Science

“I took a Leave of Absence for a year in order to take an opportunity to teach at a school in China. My oldest child went to an international school, and he was able to continue to foster and grow and learn things. Then my youngest, who was three at the time, completely had no idea of Chinese, but she was able to learn Chinese in her time abroad. She is half-Chinese and my husband also is of Chinese ethnic descent, so they’re able to cultivate that part or of their Asian identity… And that’s what a sabbatical year or year abroad should be. It should be a time where a student or faculty can get away can grow in different ways and come back refreshed and appreciative, actually, of what you have at [Andover].”

Susanne Torabi

International Student and Academy Travel Coordinator

“I have two favorite parts of [sabbatical]. One was to visit my family in Germany and spend quality time with my parents, brothers, and their families. The other was to run a marathon each month I was on sabbatical. I ran my first in Massachusetts, then in California, followed by Portugal, Germany, and finally Boston in April, concluding my fifth.”

Paul Murphy

Instructor in Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science

“I went on sabbatical to enrich myself as an educator. Overall, it is a time for teachers to reflect and do some things that you simply cannot do when you are scheduled into your courses for a year or a term. I enjoyed so many parts of my sabbatical. I enjoyed having long tracks of time to focus on my course creation. I enjoyed not being pulled in the awesome places that teaching pulls teachers and having a chance to really focus on some cool thing. And I enjoyed enjoying Sundays, which is tough to do during the school year.”