After working in the investment banking industry on three separate continents, Carroll Perry, Instructor in History, joined Phillips Academy to teach economics eleven years ago.
After graduating from Williams College in the 1960s, Perry began his work in the Peace Corps.
Perry’s work with other members of the Peace Corps sparked his interest in finance because he was devastated by the economic injustice he witnessed.
“They should have been college graduates and should have had the same prospects I had, but were working in very marginal occupations. That got me really interested in economics because I wanted to know how that happened. I thought if you were smart you were successful and if you weren’t, you [weren’t], but obviously it was not that simple,” said Perry.
According to Perry, he considered teaching after college but felt as though the career was too commonly pursued at the time.
He said, “I sort of joined the bank by mistake. However, instead of staying there for twenty-five months, I stayed there for 25 years. To my surprise, I found [business] very interesting.”
During his 25 years with the bank, Perry worked at numerous locations around the world. Perry brought his family with him while working in Brazil and Taiwan. His studies of developmental economics in graduate school allowed him to work almost exclusively in emerging markets.
While working at the bank, Perry began teaching an economics classes offered at night at Phillips Academy, commuting to campus as a part-time faculty member. However, after resigning from the bank, he became a full-time faculty member.
He now teaches three economics classes each term as well as Comparative Government. Over the years Perry has taught classes ranging from History 100 to a seminar on Brazil.
“I have always been interested in economics, but teaching it still provides a much broader perspective than acting within it,” Perry said.
“The content is very interesting, and the beauty of teaching economics is that I never teach the same thing because the world is changing at a horrific pace. I think it is an advantage to teach a scene that is constantly changing. I have to keep reworking what I do and how I do it,” he added.
Perry believes a variety of student opinions enrich class discussion. He appreciates the growth of his students’ interest and knowledge as the course progresses.
“The kick is having students come into the class knowing nothing and having them leave at the end of the year teaching the entire class.”
“Economics has yet to become a part of an Andover [students’] world, but it is going to be and [my students] know that,” Perry added. “[Teachings] interested students is incredibly gratifying. It is hardly teaching–it is just a lot of fun.”
Prior to teaching at Andover, Perry taught a course at Boston University in finance but felt the college students he encountered were too narrow-minded. He longed for unanswerable questions and interminable class debates, which he found finally at Andover.
Perry said, “Teaching at the university was much less interesting because the students I was teaching had already elected to do business and had chosen to take a very specialized course that I knew a lot about, and they knew nothing about.”
“Teaching [at Andover], nobody believes anything I say. That is more intriguing to me,” continued Perry.
Perry is always interested in a variety of perspectives and he enjoys teaching classes that have several students with a range of backgrounds and beliefs.
He said, “Because Andover attracts [a variety of students] it makes for a diverse class by and large. Obviously a lot of the views I experience in class are the views of the families the kids come from, but they supplant their views with their own views as the year rolls on.”
“At Andover, you get a pretty wide spectrum about how kids feel about things. If you get a student who is from Nigeria and you start talking about developing countries, he is going to react differently than a student who is from Kansas. I think that is one of the fun parts about teaching here,” he added.