Teacher Appreciation Column: Mrs. Dickson

Why we truly appreciate Judith Dickson.


From her quirky catchphrases to her abundant Bath and Body Works room spray collection, Mrs. Dickson has been schooling City High students with a little bit of sass and a lot of class for upwards of 26 years.

Q: What is your name?

A: Judith Breen Dickson. I have two last names but I just go by Dickson.

Q: If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be?

A: Extra.

Q: What schools have you taught at previously?
A: Omaha North High School and Webber Elementary. At Omaha North I was a classroom teacher, a librarian, and an administrator. Then at Webber I was the elementary librarian after I moved back to Iowa City. Now I’m a classroom teacher here.

Q: What do you teach at City High?
A: I teach World History and AP World History.

Q: Why did you decide to become a teacher?
A: Because I love history. There are so many cool things that teachers can do to make learning history fun.

Q: Is there any other career that you would have liked to pursue?

A: No, this is the best job ever. I knew I wanted to teach american studies when I was a ninth grader because I loved the subject.

Q: What is your favorite part about teaching?

A: Being with students–the wonderful students of City High School, building relationships, having fun learning. I like bringing a joyful classroom setting to my students.

Q: Is there anything that you find difficult about teaching?
A: I don’t enjoy grading papers.

Q: Do you learn anything from your students?
A: To have a thick skin and to laugh a lot. Laughter defuses 99% of any problems.

Q: If you could describe your teaching experience at City High in one word, what would it be and why?
A: Wonderful, this is the best place I have ever worked. I taught in an urban inner city school for 12 years, I was an elementary librarian for 10 years, and I just have never been happier in my career than at City High School. The kids, the staff, the administration are all wonderful.

Q: If given the opportunity, would you ever choose to move schools?
A: No. I’m here as long as they keep me…as long as they like me.

Q: What are some of your favorite catch phrases?

A: My catch phrases? ‘Get over your bad self,’ ‘whoo whoo whoo,’ ‘hot mess express,’ and ‘word.’ I am very forthright.

Q: What about ‘holy tolitos’?

A: I do say ‘holy tolitos’ don’t I? “Holy tolitos Schumann*!”

Q: And of course, what is actually your favorite Bath and Body Works scent?
A: Vanilla bean, did you really write that question?
Throughout the year, it has been an honor being able to get to know Dickson on both a personal and scholastic level. To anybody expecting her as a teacher or colleague in the future, you should expect to smile a lot, laugh even more, and bring a notebook for the hundreds of life lessons that you will learn while collaborating with her.

*Dickson’s co-teacher during first period