Above: segment from 9/20/19 show of Phillipian Live by Alex Oder.
Nicholas Kip ’60, Instructor in Classics, has worn a distinctive orange toga for the department’s Declamation Contest each spring. Though it appears only once per year, this classical garb has become a staple of Kip’s teaching career at Andover.
This year marks the fifty-first year of Kip’s tenure, breaking the record for the longest tenure at Andover. The record was formerly held by Tom Cone, Instructor in Biology, who retired in 2017.
According to Bryce Shufro ’22, Kip managed to create a dynamic classroom environment through his unique personality and wealth of personal anecdotes.
“I think it’s really cool that he broke the record, that he stayed teaching here for this long. Having him as a teacher was always exciting, never a dull moment. He’s definitely very eccentric, loves to tell stories and incorporate his personal experiences into teaching, so it was a lot of fun having him in class,” said Shufro.
Throughout his years at Andover, Kip has often considered the challenge of catering to a diverse array of learning styles. Kip emphasized the need for creativity in addressing this issue.
“When you’re solving problems in math or, God help us, translating Latin, there’s usually a pretty distinct routine that you follow, and if you follow the routine, then you get the results. But that isn’t necessarily the case anymore, and we’ve been spending a lot more time paying attention to learning styles and things like that. So it’s the challenges. You can be creative about doing this stuff,” said Kip.
One of Kip’s former students, Yuping Zhu ’21, appreciated his efforts to teach Latin from several different perspectives. Zhu also remarked on Kip’s ability to intertwine class material with real-life experiences.
“Mr. Kip definitely has a lot of experience over the years and has taught us a lot. I was in his Latin-200 class, and he had unique ways of teaching us material, but the information we learned stuck with us. I think it’s cool that he has a different perspective, and it allows us to look at Latin through a different lens. Also, he tells really memorable stories about Latin in the real world and about his experiences in teaching Latin over time,” said Zhu.
Kip advises new teachers to value the experience of the more tenured faculty. According to Kip, it is essential for fellow educators to learn from one another.
“Listen to the old guys and girls. Experience really counts, and it’s particularly true in teaching, I’m convinced…You need to learn from your own experience as well as other people’s experience. I guess that’s the best thing I can say. Of all my time doing this, that’s probably the biggest quickie,” said Kip.
Catherine Carter, Instructor in Classics, drew parallels between Kip’s area of study and his role as an experienced faculty member on campus. Carter believes that Kip’s influence among faculty extends beyond the Classics Department.
“He teaches etymology…, and just like he knows the word roots for everything, he also kind of knows the roots for everything that’s happening in the school and has happened over now 51 years because he was here when so much of it started. It’s a tremendous resource for his colleagues, I think, faculty-wide,” said Carter.
In her nearly 20 years working alongside Kip, Carter has come to appreciate not only Kip’s knowledge of Latin, but also his distinctive style of teaching.
“I think it’s a real testament to Mr. Kip, to his students, and to the school that he would be here starting his fifty-first year, not counting the years he was here as a student, and I think he’s a gem. I’ve learned from him lots about Latin, and I’ve also learned a lot from him about teaching. I appreciate his moments of irreverence in class. I appreciate his perspectives, his wisdom, his experience,” said Carter.
Elizabeth Meyer, Instructor in Classics and Head of the Division of World Languages, met Kip while interviewing for a teaching position at Andover in 1998. Meyer recalled a fond memory of Kip’s eagerness to help fix a windshield wiper that had come loose on her way to the interview.
“When we got to my car and he saw the broken windshield wiper, he went right over and started fixing it, as if it were the most normal thing in the world. He was chatting with me and getting his hands all muddy fixing my car, and then, when it was fixed, he waved and was off. I just love remembering that about him,” said Meyer.
Carter’s time with Kip is defined less by one particular moment and more by a general sense of stability that Kip has provided over the years.
Carter said, “As I try to think about specific incidents, I’m sure I’ll think of some, but what really comes to mind is the steady presence he’s been in my life here and then add 30 years to that for his colleagues and his students in 51 years.”