Bristol teacher getting close to 50 years in the classroom, continues to inspire students

(WTNH / George Roelefsen)
News 8's Brian Spyros with Bristol Central teacher Mrs. Gale Dickau (WTNH / George Roelefsen)
News 8’s Brian Spyros with Bristol Central teacher Mrs. Gale Dickau (WTNH / George Roelefsen)

BRISTOL, Conn. (WTNH) — This week we shine the spotlight on Teacher Appreciation Week. Nearly everyone has that one teacher who made an impression on them during their time in school.

News 8’s Brian Spyros was able to go back to his school to interview the teacher who inspired him to get into broadcasting. That teacher is Mrs. Gale Dickau.

Brian graduated from Bristol Central High School in 2001. Dickau has been teaching since 1968, quickly approaching 50 years in the classroom.

“I always thought I would do it as long as I enjoyed it,” said Dickau. “But I have never not loved this.”

Brian had Mrs. Dickau for several classes, including creative writing and journalism. All of which taught him the power of words and telling stories. Those classes would eventually lead him to his current career as an anchor and reporter for News 8.

“It means everything. It just validates what I do on a daily basis,” said Dickau.

Over the years Mrs. Dickau has won both state and national awards for teaching, including the prestigious Milken Award. She also traveled to Europe 18 times with dozens of students. Her last trip was to Italy in 1998.

In the late 1980’s she started a creative arts magazine called ‘Signatures’. Inside the pages you’ll find the very best in writing and art from students. It still comes out every spring.

“What it does for the kids is just showcase the best of what they have.”

Many of her fellow faculty members at Bristol Central easily notice the impact she’s had on her students over the years.

“Every year we host a number of events here where she invites alumni back to talk about their experiences. There’s a reason why she’s able to get in touch with them. There’s a reason they drop everything and come back because they know what they’ve received from her,” said Peter Wininger, principal at Bristol Central. “She cares and she’s there for kids and that’s what make her so special.”

Dickau says she has no plans to retire as of yet. Her main focus — her students.

“As much as I think I’m teaching them, I’m learning a whole lot more from them,” said Dickau. “They keep me young, they keep me current, they keep me in the loop. I am never at a loss of words. I know what’s going on in the world because it’s important to my students, so it’s important to me.”

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