South Charlotte

Teacher to get national honor this summer

Ted Dickson speaks history.

He's the Advanced Placement U.S. History teacher who chairs his department at Providence Day School.

Dickson was honored for his teaching skills last month by the Daughters of the American Revolution in Winston-Salem. In July, he will travel to Washington, D.C., to receive the national Outstanding Teacher of American History Award, given by the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR).

Each year, the National Society holds its annual meeting - called the Continental Congress - in the nation's capital.

Dickson was recommended by colleagues, and he wrote a philosophy statement and provided other materials.

Dickson is a native of Weston, Mass. He'll turn 50 later this year and has been teaching at Providence Day for 20 years.

He is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He says he has seen changes in education over the years.

"The importance of being organized, prepared and passionate about what you do, that hasn't changed," he said. "One obvious change is technology.

"We have so many different options for finding and disseminating information. ..."

He says there also are more demands on students' time, as well as an increasing awareness among teachers of differing learning styles.

Dickson engages students through a variety of approaches, including images, music and role-playing. He cites the Civil War, the 1920s and the 1960s as eras he likes to teach. He said he recently has enjoyed teaching about the 1970s - making connections to events today.

Loyalty to Providence Day runs high in the Dickson family. Dickson's wife, Melissa, is a school volunteer. All three children - Katie, Emily and Nathan - are enrolled there. Katie, the oldest, is a senior who plans to attend Boston College and is contemplating a career in education.

Dickson says he's more interested in what he calls "family story research" than genealogical research. And he has plenty of stories.

His late father served in the U.S. Navy during Word War II, training naval mechanics to repair aircraft engines, and later entered politics.

Dickson's father eventually was blinded by diabetes. "I kind of had a citizenship project growing up helping him be a politician," he said.

Dickson described reading the newspaper aloud to his father. "In retrospect, it was a great training experience in all kinds of ways," he said.