Teacher Spotlight: Mr. Dixon


Zoe Long, Editor/Writer

Winthrop High School is not short of incredible, talented staff members and students! Every single person deserves a spotlight, but The Viking Times chose one particular teacher this week: Mr. Dixon!  You might recognize that name as your own Introduction to Psychology or AP Psych teacher, from the halls of our high school, or from our beloved faculty band “Staff Infection”. I only met him this year as my Introduction to Psychology teacher, but he is already a teacher I know I am going to miss. Mr. Dixon is a very charismatic, engaging, and funny teacher. I, as well as other people, have tons of fun learning in his classroom, and walk out every day with a new piece of knowledge about him, myself, or the world around us. I don’t want to spoil too much about him, as all of that will be answered in the questions we asked him. Without further ado, here’s all you need to know about Mr. Dixon: 


I first asked Mr. Dixon questions about his life in teaching: 

Zoe: Do you enjoy being a teacher? 

Mr. Dixon: Oh yes. It’s different every day, and you can’t beat the vacations. It helps when you’re able to teach something you’re genuinely interested in… and you can usually find something genuinely interesting to highlight.

Z: Have you always wanted to become a teacher? 

Mr. D: Not as such. I used to think I was going to be a history professor, writing books and doing research. This is much, much more fun.

Z: Do you want to continue to be a teacher? 

Mr. D: Yes, absolutely. I’d get bored doing anything else.

Z: What led you to work at Winthrop High School? 

Mr. D: They were hiring… Social studies can be a difficult field to break into, and I applied for history positions all over MA. I teach psychology because that’s what they needed me to teach when they offered me the job, and back then I was not in a position to turn it down. So I learned psych really quickly and jumped right in. I’ve also taught all the history classes we offer over the years.

Z: What aspect of Winthrop High do you enjoy the most? 

Mr.D: I love it when we hire people I used to have in class. WHS is good at this: it’s a place people want to come back to, and the administrators value the community engagement those alumni have. There’s nothing more satisfying to me than seeing a former student become a colleague.

Z: What is your favorite unit of Psychology to teach? 

Mr. D: Probably social psych, though it makes a lot of students uneasy, but it’s the unit that relates most closely to daily life.


Next, I asked him questions about his life in the military: 

Zoe: If you’re comfortable talking about it, did you enjoy your time in the military?

Mr. Dixon: I did, but I was in a unit that was well-run and highly motivated. A lot of people end up in less satisfying units, and they have a terrible time. But I’d definitely do it over again. I generally had good commanders, and I worked with [mostly] very good soldiers doing a lot of interesting things I’d never get the chance to do otherwise.

Z: Was joining the military something you always knew you wanted to do? 

Mr. D: Sort of? I kind of wanted to be Maverick in Top Gun when I was like ten, but, alas, I wear glasses, so that was not doable. Then I thought I’d join the Navy and sail around in submarines, but they were only looking for engineers and… well, that ain’t me. So I joined the Army and jumped out of planes instead. I’m glad it worked out that way.

Z:Would you encourage others to do the same? 

Mr. D: Sure, but only if they want to. It’s a big decision. Nobody should join because they’re compelled to, or because they’re trying to meet anyone else’s expectations. It has to be their own choice, completely.


Then, I asked him questions about his life in music: 

Zoe: We know from your incredible work in Staff Infection that you play the bass, how long have you played that instrument? 

Mr. Dixon: Not long. Maybe 6-7 years.

Z: Do you play any other instruments? 

Mr. D: I play the bass because I’m not very good at guitar, and knew I’d never get good. I also play ukulele, and I’ve built my own ukes and guitars as well.

Z: Has music ever been, or still is, a career you may want to pursue? 

Mr. D: Oh, heavens no! It’s far too much work for not nearly enough pay, for most people.


Lastly, I asked some random, or student requested, questions: 

Zoe: How many pairs of converse, roughly, would you say you own? 

Mr. Dixon: Probably between 20 and 25. And they’re “Chucks,” not “Converse.”

Z: Tell us your favorite fun fact about Wyoming and/or California! 

Mr. D: Wyoming’s state sport is rodeo, and my college had a competitive rodeo team. California… well, it’s also a state. I grew up there, but other than San Francisco and Yosemite, I’m not that interested in going back.

Z: What was your favorite part of the University of Wyoming? 

Mr. D: I loved the fact that it was low-pressure. I had the opportunity to join many student teams and organizations without endangering my schoolwork. I was almost a national champion debater while I was there, and my times traveling with the debate team were a blast.

Z: Do you have a favorite famous psychologist or psychiatrist? If so, why?

Mr. D: I like Lawrence Kohlberg, because I think his theory of moral development is a great way to look at what motivates us to make good decisions. Also, it’s a bit gruesome, but it fascinates me that the very last thing he saw before he died was lovely Winthrop, MA. 

Z: Anyone who has you in class knows about your fascination with micronations. Tell us about one of your favorites, or maybe even one you have citizenship in. 

Mr. D: Micronations are a great way to explore concepts like nationalism, identity, and independence. They also raise uncomfortable but important questions about international relations and the things that motivate countries to recognize (or fail to recognize) developing states. I’ve recently become a citizen of Ladonia, which I’d encourage anyone to look into. Our people have a rich heritage and a fascinating culture.


That’s all the questions we asked Mr. Dixon, but we hope you enjoyed learning more about him just as much as we did. If you see him in class or in the hallways, make sure to strike up a conversation about micronations, Wyoming, or converse! As I said before, Mr. Dixon is a very genuine person, so I would recommend his courses to most rising juniors or seniors! Thank you again Mr. Dixon!