Au Revoir To An Unforgettable Teacher

Au Revoir To An Unforgettable Teacher

Amy Neenan, Editor

photo-1Scary, mean, loud, intimidating, weird, and frightening are all adjectives used by students to describe Dr. Ladd, the department head of the foreign language program at Ipswich High School. His unique and memorable personality is what makes him one of the most well known and respected teachers in the school.

Incoming freshman at Ipswich High have enough on their plate to worry about: new school, new schedule, new classes, and countless upperclassmen. Those freshmen who chose to take French as their foreign language course, however, have another thing to worry about: their French teacher, Dr. Richard Ladd. Dr. Ladd’s first honors French 1 class began first period Monday morning in 2012. On the first day of high school, these small freshman were greeted with, “What are you people waiting for; take your seats already!” Little did they know that this was just the beginning of the best class they will have ever taken.

Richard Ladd was first introduced to French when he was in the fourth grade. The advanced learning students were taken out of their classes twice a week to watch a video containing basic French vocabulary. He stuck with French all through his grade school years until he reached college. He spent his undergraduate career at Salem State, and went to graduate school at Middlebury College. Eventually, Mr. Richard Ladd became Dr. Richard Ladd.

Growing up, he was never good at math or science, but he excelled at reading, writing, and speaking French. He began to love the language. He did not, however, love his French teacher. He described her as someone who he would not want to have teach another class, so he decided that he would be a great French and be nothing like her.

Dr. Ladd started out as the new guy at Ipswich High School in 1984. He has taught many classes including French 1 through 4, AP, Spanish 1 through 4, and other language classes such as Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Dutch, Danish, and Italian. While being able to teach these classes, Dr. Ladd has also published books during his time at IHS. He wrote, Allons Au-dela! La Langue Et Les Cultures Du Monde Francophone, and Advanced Placement French: Preparing for the Language and Culture Examination, which has multiple editions. He quickly developed a reputation as a great intellect among his peers and students.

Dr. Ladd’s teaching style would be explained by his students as unorthodox. The honors French 1 class was just beginning to learn French numbers, when Dr. Ladd decided to embarrass them on their first day of high school. Repeating the numbers one through ten, he told the kids to line up at the door, walk out into the hall, and march around the pod while repeating the numbers. The students barely knew what they were saying and had to mumble these French words as they passed giggling upperclassmen in a single file line. When he wasn’t embarrassing his students, Dr. Ladd would be enjoying his time teaching by playing strange games, yelling at kids he didn’t know in the hallways, or telling awful jokes that somehow got everyone in his class to laugh. Students would always have a funny or surprising story to tell about what happened in French class that day.

The words at the beginning of this article are the consensus of the Ipswich High School students that did not have Dr. Ladd as a teacher. Those students that did have the honor of being his students, would actually still use those words, but also add a few more: nice, eccentric, humble, comical, smart, caring, and a great friend. Those freshman in his honors French 1 class are now the seniors of the class of 2015, about to graduate. We really got to know the real Dr. Ladd, and what a special teacher he really is. When he screams at us in the halls to move along, we don’t quiver or pick up our pace, we simply smile and say “Hi Dr. Ladd!” in which he then retorts with a warm smile and a “Hello.” He had become our favorite teacher.

Dr. Ladd has spent thirty long, but happy years at Ipswich High School. He has made a lasting impression on his students, not only through his unique personality and unorthodox teaching style, but by his incredibly understanding, genuine, and kind character. Dr. Ladd may be retiring this year, but he will forever remain an unforgettable man in the eyes of Ipswich High School and in the hearts of every single one of his students.


*Author’s note:

Special thank you to Dr. Ladd for being a wonderful teacher. A maximum of 800 words would never do you justice. Your students have so much to thank you for. Happy retirement!