A core member of the Andover administration and History Department for nearly 25 years, Christopher Shaw, Instructor and Chair in History and Social Science, looks to move on to the next chapter of his teaching career at St. George’s School as the Dean of Academics.
Shaw’s tie to Andover dates back to the 70s when he walked on the Andover campus as a student, not a faculty member. Shaw returned to join Andover’s History Department in 1995.
“Through history, you can show kids the world, and I think all the students here have been universally hungry to see the world. I especially loved teaching here because every group of students is from everywhere, and teachers from other schools envy us for having a small group of really smart students who can speak from personal experiences about so many different parts of the planet,” Shaw said.
In addition to teaching History 100 and 300, Shaw previously directed the Outdoor Pursuits program for seven years. He was also in charge of the International Academic Partnership (IAP), a worldwide partnership program that focuses on professional development for teachers and curriculum development across many different disciplines such as Islamic cultural studies and global economics.
During his time at Andover, Shaw has also served as House Counselor of many different dorms, including Foxcroft, Bartlett, Carriage House, Paul Revere Hall, Stowe House and Hearsey House.
Though Shaw looks forward to immersing himself in a different community at St. George’s School, he said he will truly miss the profound and intellectual conversations he shared with Andover students.
“There is no question that I [will] miss my students the most. I think the conversations we are having here right now about gender, race and class are the most important conversations we could be having as a learning community. The kind of conversations we are having at this campus are so high level, emotionally wrenching, and intellectually rich,” he said. Shaw hopes to bring these conversations to St. George’s and challenge students there with similar issues.
Throughout his time at Andover, Shaw has always looked forward to September.
“I think one of my favorite moments every year is when I meet and start to teach the History 100 class. There’s that moment when we are all brand new and all nervous. My students have loads of expectations of what I’ll be like and I have very few expectations of what they’ll be like, but there’s always a crispness to that moment that I love,” said Shaw.
One of the most significant contributions Shaw has made was overseeing the redevelopment of the History 100 and 200 curriculums.
“Under Tony Rotundo, [Instructor in History and Social Science]’s leadership, a group of history teachers have taken a really close look at how we teach History 100 and 200 and why we are teaching it. The conversation that’s been going on is fascinating and cutting edge. My sense is that we are taking a close look at why we are teaching the content and what we hope to achieve from them,” said Shaw.
Shaw has also brought to Andover his firsthand economics experiences he had acquired after specializing in the development of French-speaking sub-Saharan African countries and travelling to Madagascar, Rwanda, Mali and Morocco as an economist.
“Shaw presents his students with opportunities to apply those tools to real-world problems, not least in engaging complex moral and social issues tied to development and globalization. For him, learning economics is about more than acquiring the technical skills to assure one’s financial enrichment; it can also illuminate the world in ways that might enable those with the will to use its insights to improve the human condition,” said Rotundo in an email to _The Phillipian_.