Teacher Appreciation Day
So today is teacher appreciation day. I know a lot of them. I’ve been around a lot of them. In fact I have, and I am a teacher. Now, my teaching is a bit different than those we are celebrating, and it is those that I want to talk about.
Specifically, I want to talk about Mrs. Euphrasia Dixon! An elementary school teacher for many years. She in fact was my first grade teacher at the Munford school in Alabama.
1966 to be exact was the year I had her in first grade. We didn’t have a kindergarten class, and I thought we were in a large school. Looking back I didn’t realize how small we really were.
Mrs. Dixon was a joy! Even though many years have passed I can still vividly remember many things that happened in that first grade classroom.
She had a love for reading and for teaching children how to read. On my first grade Report card she left a note to my mother stating how proud she was of me for my reading proficiency. Oh, there were others that had a hard time reading. For example, one young man had a habit of nodding his head every syllable that he spoke. Mrs. Dixon had a solution for that! Jerry, go over and hold his head while he reads. Now you must picture this in your mind a little boy, first grade, maybe 40 pounds going to hold the head of another young man twice his size and twice his weight! I looked like a limp noodle flying back-and-forth holding onto him. But, he learned to read.
One of my best friends in Mrs. Dixon’s class was a young man named Scotty Bell. Scotty and I could get into more trouble in one day than we could in a year!
We were coming back from lunch, I was running ahead of Scotty, going to run and hide behind the door to scare him. I heard the footsteps approaching and I jumped out to scare him! It wasn’t him!
You got it, you already know.
It was Mrs. Dixon.
I thought she was going to jump out of her skin! She screamed and yelled and turned to me and snatched me up and wore my rear end out! All while looking in the background and see my best friend Scotty laughing at the whipping I was getting.
Afterwards, she told me how much she loved me and that I really shouldn’t scare her. I didn’t anymore.
I also remember her deep compassion for every student in our class. And I mean EVERY student!
I remember two students that were in our grade that would come to school and they literally did not have shoes to wear. Mrs. Dixon would walk around class each week she would ask if we could bring pennies and nickels to place in the shoe box so we could help someone out. We never really knew that it was those students, but one day they showed up and each of them had a brand new pair of shoes on. They were so proud of new shoes, when we would go outside to play in the playground they would take them off because they did not want them to get dirty or destroyed. Mrs. Dixon had a compassion that was instilled in many young people. We were taught manners, etiquette, kindness, love.
Mrs. Dixon loved God! It was evident not only early in her life as she was a light to many children. But a light around the world! She wanted the world to know about Jesus and she spread that light all the days of her life!
It was another one of those days, I was going into the classroom and in that old big school house the doors were large and heavy and as I was walking into the room, the door closed on my left hand crushing my middle finger. Needless to say I cried, a lot. But she gave me the care just like my mother would, picking me up holding me allowing me to cry then carefully making sure I would be all right. Today when I look at that finger nail that’s not like the rest, I don’t remember the hurt and the pain I remember the lady who gave me comfort and care.
Mrs. Dixon received an award with the state of Alabama educators society. I was just in my early years of ministry when I received a call from her asking if I would write a letter of reference for her.
Me, a reference? You have it wrong Mrs. Dixon, many things in my life can be attributed to the first grade teacher whose only goal in life was to educate children and to teach them how to love God with all of their heart soul mind and strength.
Mrs. Dixon is still alive, however she battles the dreadful disease of Alzheimer’s. While she may never remember the many students whose lives she touched over the years, we her students will never forget the influence that she had on our lives then and for the future to come.
Thank you Mrs. Dixon!