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Mariah Wicks Emerson Montessori novice teacher

Mariah Wicks says “how do we count our minutes?”

It’s an active day for Mariah Wicks.

Wicks says “there is only 60 seconds in a minute, or 60 minutes in one hour.”

She’s in her second-year teaching and one of the few teachers at the only public Montessori school in Oklahoma, Tulsa Public Schools’ Emerson Montessori.

Wicks says “I looked in to it, I saw the younger students learning life skills.”

Like our teachers, Wicks followed her passion, dedicating herself to helping and improving the lives of all students.

Wicks says “I thought you know, I am pretty good at working with kids and mentoring and counseling.”

She actually started her teaching career at a much earlier age, she just didn’t know it then.

Wicks says “my dad said that when I was little I would play like I was a teacher, so it kind of was already in me.”

Wicks says “we can still write shine.”

The Montessori education model is different than traditional classrooms.

Wicks says “the thing that I’ve learned is that it’s a holistic education, focusing on the whole child. The emotional, social, academic, the physical, mental, all those things.”

Students from multiple grade levels are taught together, still cultivating independence is key.

Wicks says “this is called the move-able alphabet. They are learning how to spell by using these words, and then they will eventually write it down on paper.”

As this student learns how to spell, she’s actually teaching herself how to do it.

Wicks says “the knowledge of know that ‘snake’ starts with ‘S.’ So, she is going to flip in the book until she gets to ‘S’ until she can find a picture of a snake, and the she’ll be able to learn how it’s spelled.”

Wicks says seeing her students solve their own problems, is pure joy.

Wicks says “really proud! Because it makes me realize that they are listening, but it also makes me realize that as the adult in the room I am also a model.”

For this novice teacher – building relationships with her students has laid the bedrock for success.

Wicks says “it’s not a matter that they don’t want to listen to you, but you have to develop that trust. So, the social and emotional is very important to me. And I love that I’m at a school where I am able to be authentic, to show myself.”

Advice she picked up from her mom, a life-long teacher.

Wicks says “you won’t be able to teach the students academically, until you know that they care.”

Wicks says “’ssss’ two e’s make what sound?” “E.” “E.”

Wicks says she wouldn’t be this confident or excited to go to work if it wasn’t for her co-workers support.

Wicks says “I’ve been working with a great group of educators, who support each other, Who learn how to utilize their own gifts and help each other out.”

At a place where she feels respected.

Wicks says “I’m heard, I’m valued, and I am able to express how I feel.”

Wicks says “If you are not missing a number, you are a little bit over.”

She says every day is new and exciting, while knowing she is leaving a positive mark on these impressionable kids.

Wicks says “it’s the children. The children need people who are going to stick through for them. It’s about peace."