Mr. Aalund’s Opus: A Second Chance
By Scott Aalund, May 10 2010
[The following post, on the rewards and challenges of teaching teens in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, is reposted with permission of the author, Scott Aalund, and its original publisher, Phoenix House. Mr. Aalund is pictured below, in the classroom at Phoenix Academy (click on the photo for a larger image). --Ed.]
On my first visit to Phoenix Academy twelve years ago, I remember the school’s secretary laughing after I asked what kind of private school it was. I wasn’t familiar with the program and, with its pleasant entrance and unusually peaceful atmosphere, it didn’t look or sound anything like the large public schools where I’d taught in the past.
We started playing a guessing game, until she finally explained that the school served students who were recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. It wasn’t a private school, she told me, but they were fully accredited and the class sizes were small—a maximum 17-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio. Wow, I thought, this would be a challenge.