Mrs. Dickinson Ready to Rock Into Retirement

Mrs. Dickinson will be retiring after 24 wonderful years here at BF.

Ridgewood, NJ – One of the most iconic, teachers in Benjamin Franklin Middle School located in Bergen County will be retiring in this coming June 2019. Nancy Dickinson teaches eighth-grade science and environmental science. BF middle school is split up into two regions known as Ridge and Franklin. Mr. Dickinson teaches eighth-grade science and environmental science for the sixth-graders. She has been teaching at BF for 24 years. Being one of the most iconic teachers, you would think it was her life long goal to become a teacher. However, that wasn’t the case and Mrs. Dickinson fell into teaching by chance.

The BF Bolt sat down with Mrs. dickinson to find out a little bit more her. Was this a life calling for her, or was it something different? “Well I’ve never wanted to be a teacher but I was always involved with science. My father was a scientist and he would always bring projects home. He worked at Columbia University and he would take me to the lab with him. He taught how to blow glass and solder when I was like seven. I’ve been in the science world forever.”  

Mrs. Dickinson attended Fairleigh Dickinson University  in New Jersey and then went to the University of New Hampshire. The reason she became a teacher is because of her good friend and ex-BF social studies teacher, Mr. Fiocchi. Mrs. Dickinson and Mr. Fiocchi were acquainted with each other as friends and they knew each other from their kids. One day, the class went on a field trip, and Mrs. Dickinson and Mr. Fiocchi chaperoned the trip. Mrs. Dickinson was assigned to help the girls out. While she was telling the kids that she was chaperoning, some interesting facts, Mr. Fiocchi saw them and jokingly said “You should be a teacher someday.” Mr. Fiocchi himself was a teacher, currently enrolled in Benjamin Franklin Middle School. Taking Mr.Fiocchi’s advice into mind, Mrs. Dickinson went on to teach first at Paterson Catholic for a year. After that she taught as a permanent substitute for a year before finally teaching 8th grade science.

Twenty four years is a long time to be in one profession and during that time Mrs. Dickinson as seen many interesting things. She told us a story when she was doing a volcano project. She explained, “I had a boy making a model of a volcano and he used dry ice and water. And when he put dry ice and water into the volcano it blows up and out. It went 30 feet in each direction and hit both walls. Luckily nobody got hurt and I didn’t get sued. It hit the ceiling and we had to paint it because it was red.”

The BF Bolt also asked her what her favorite part about teaching and she said, “My favorite part is when students look at me and say, ‘oh, that’s why that happens’ or ‘oh now I get it.’ that makes me really happy.” She believes, “I find that kids are too plugged in right now and that they don’t their losing their social skills that’s why in my homeroom we have game day where we play ping pong and knock hockey and play games because I want you guys to talk to each other because it’s important”

Mrs.Dickinson brings her love for teaching anywhere she goes. She also wants to make her class engaging whether that is by taking out artifacts, presenting projects, or going on field trips. Her most popular field trips while at BF have been to the Palisades and the other to Sandy Hook

The BF Bolt asked  Mrs.Dickinson why she decided to leave this year and she explained, “I actually wanted to retire last year with Mr. Fiocchi because he’s the one who got me into teaching, but part of it is a health issue, that I am a three year cancer survivor and when someone tells you have cancer it changes everything. And I’m not done yet, there’s a lot of things I still want to do.” We also wondered what she was going to do after she retires and she said, “11 years ago I did a sabbatical and got to be a park ranger out in Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. And next January I’m going to go back and do that from January to May and be an educational ranger.”

She also a very important message for BF students entering high school. The advice may be a cliche but she stated clearly to not be involved with drugs and alcohol. Also, Mrs.Dickinson said that you should have a line rehearsed for whenever you are in a situation where somebody offers you drugs or alcohol. Mrs. Dickinson said that she thinks BF is a very special school and she loved her time teaching here. She had many good memories and she shared some of the other ones with her classes, such as a kid who got a hook stuck in his foot at the Sandy Hook trip a few years back. This interview gave us a big insight on her time here at BF and  The BF Bolt along with the rest of the school wish her all the best in her future endeavors.