Poodle Travels and Writing Projects: Teachers on Sabbatical Next Year

At the end of each school year, after a decade of hard work on the Circle, a few of our teachers take a yearlong break away from Groton. From lecturing in southeast Asia to archaeological work in the Middle East, Groton teachers pursue a variety of personal projects and travels during their sabbatical break. This year, Mr. Capen and Ms. Jin will be taking well-earned sabbatical leaves from Groton, and while students will certainly miss their familiar faces, we hope they can take some time off to relax and recharge.

Mr. Capen has been a boys cross-country coach and English teacher at Groton for twenty-three years. This fall, he will be teaching a seminar called “Writing the Environment” at the College of the Atlantic (COA) in Bar Harbor, Maine. From the reflections of Henry Thoreau in his journal Walden to Rachel Carson’s marine research in The Sea Around Us, Mr. Capen plans to offer a new environmental literature course at the college. After hosting cross-country preseasons in the region for the past ten years, Mr. Capen hopes to connect better with the Mount Desert Island community. He’s also curious to explore “what works so well for [COA]” as the college has one of the greenest campuses in the country.

While later on he might choose to teach more semesters at COA, Mr. Capen currently plans to travel with his poodles, Charley and April, in Acadia National Park and also take a road trip across the country. If Covid-19 restrictions loosen, Mr. Capen hopes to travel to the Philippines to visit extended family as well. He says he will miss Groton students the most during his sabbatical leave.

Ms. Jin has been a girls tennis coach, volleyball coach, and Chinese teacher at Groton for the past ten years. During her sabbatical leave, she plans to travel in north Africa, Europe, southeast Asia, and other regions around the world. She will begin her trip to Morocco in June, and in September, she and her husband will visit Italy, the UK, and various nordic countries. In December, she plans to travel to Egypt, Israel, and South Africa. Next year, she hopes to visit India and southeast Asia. She wishes to “immerse [herself] deeper in other cultures around the world” and plans to spend three to four weeks in each location.

Traveling is a liberating and rejuvenating experience for Ms. Jin. After a decade of the busy lifestyle at Groton, she hopes to “join with others in their life experiences and to share their appreciation of different lifestyles” while also “giving thanksgiving for [her] life.” Finally, if travel conditions permit, Ms. Jin looks forward to visiting family in China and Mongolia.

By the end of her year on sabbatical, Ms. Jin hopes she will have a finished draft of her book. For thirty years, she has been collecting material for a fictional story that draws from her personal experiences. Ms. Jin said she will miss the students, nature, and world languages department the most from Groton.

We hope Mr. Capen and Ms. Jin will enjoy happy and relaxing sabbatical leaves. In the meantime, Groton will be welcoming back Mr. Black, Ms. Lanier, and Mr. Pomeroy to the Circle this fall.