Heather Crossen is a new special education teacher at the high school. She works in the 9th grade Learning Center and provides reading services to all grades. Crossen started her career in special education by working first at the Landmark School on the North Shore and then at Driscoll. She has been in the field since 1997. Crossen enjoys building relationships with students and helping them overcome obstacles that even they didn’t believe they could.
How did you realize that you wanted to work with kids?
I just find kids to be refreshing and energizing. I like to give kids the opportunity to develop themselves and give them the opportunity to see that they are bright lights, bright stars, which sometimes they may not see. I worked with kids in very difficult situations, and generally they’ve been able to overcome a lot of difficulties. I find that really rewarding.
Do you have any siblings?
Yes I do, actually. I have two brothers and one sister. I think growing up in a family with four kids definitely affected my desire to help because you don’t always get your individual needs met.
So you wanted to help provide that for other people?
I’ve always been a people person anyway. I enjoy helping people, interacting with people, helping people solve problems, helping people see more positive outcomes. I think sometimes, life can get a little dark, and people need help getting out of that dark space sometimes. I didn’t grow up in that dark space, thankfully, but I did see kids who did.
Do you think that if you had to do it all again, you’d still be where you are today?
(laughs) Probably not. I’ve had a great career, but if I had to do it all over again, looking back on things, I would like to be an interior decorator! I love color, I’ve been a quilter for a long time, and I love fabric and paint, so if I had to do it all over I’d move in that direction. I think it’s so much fun! I love shopping, I love buying, I love creating, I love decorating! Of course it might not be so easy if it’s your job, but who knows?
You mentioned you might have become an interior decorator. Do you believe there’s a connection between organizing houses and helping kids organize their minds?
Absolutely! I think if you have an organized house, you have a more organized mind, and when there’s not a lot of clutter you can have more clarity. I can’t function when things are a mess.
How do you feel about teaching at the high school?
I really continue to be enthusiastic and energetic about my work and connecting with kids, and I’m really excited, actually, to be at the high school. I worked in Amherst, Mass. out at the high school there for about four years, and I haven’t been at the high school level since. That was about 10 years ago, so I’m excited to be back with older kids.