B.S., Elementary Education, Purdue University
M.Ed., National Louis University
Mrs. Hicks is passionate about building strong classroom community and developing independent, lifelong learners. Outside of the classroom, she finds joy spending time with her family. Before joining the MPA faculty, she taught kindergarten, first grade and second grade for Chicago Public Schools and also has served as a dean of culture for grades 3-5.
Why do you choose to teach at MPA?
Morgan Park Academy’s high standards of excellence uphold the well-being of students, families, and staff, which establishes an impactful educational partnership. Also, the objective to cultivate and nurture the whole child is ever present at MPA. Academics, creativity, social development, and global awareness are advanced in our various curricula and bloom into our rich school culture. The balance of culture and high quality teaching make MPA a wonderful learning community to be a part of.
What has your experience of teaching been like in 2020?
In my classroom, I have always incorporated blended learning. The use of technology has always served to offer additional learning modalities for visual, kinesthetic, and auditory learners. Therefore, when transitioning to remote learning last spring, many of the methods in which I presented lesson material to my students mirrored in-person learning.
Something that was different however, was the social aspect of bringing my students together although physically apart. I intentionally incorporated group projects in which students could see each other’s work, facilitated socially engaging Zoom meetings, and provided students the opportunity to confidentially share how they felt each day.
My students this fall have seemed more aware of the uncertainty around and the reality of the pandemic, compared to their predecessors last spring, who did not have this evident anxiety. Again, I worked hard to assure my students that we would continue our daily schedule and routines even when we were remote, reminding them that they would see each other during our daily Zoom lessons.
Although keeping with our daily schedule and teaching the children how to Zoom at various times did take time, once everyone felt comfortable with the transitions, it simply felt as if the walls of our classroom had effectively broadened and learning was well underway.
What have been your top priorities for students in this time; have they differed?
My top priorities for students have remained the same: academics and caring relationships. I aim to weave my love and care for children into how I interact with my students, opportunities for student engagement, and the execution of lessons.
I hold dear to my heart that people, little or tall, need to know how much you care before they care how much you know.