Wendy Fickes didn’t always know she wanted to be a teacher, but now it’s a career she wouldn’t change one bit after spending the past two decades impacting the lives of many young children in the district. school RE-1 Valley. .
When she was younger, Fickes had wanted to become a counselor and had even earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology. But, as she was trying to figure out what to do with it after graduating, she decided to pursue a teaching license and once she got it in her hands, she got a job in RE- 1. She hasn’t looked back since.
“I loved teaching, it’s kind of my passion,” Fickes said.
This is her sixth year teaching fifth grade at Campbell Elementary and prior to that, she spent 14 years teaching first grade at Ayres Elementary.
“I moved just for kind of a change, after 14 years in first grade I just wanted a change so I came to fifth grade and it was quite a change. I love math, it’s the “One of my favorite things to teach, usually we do dances and stuff, so it’s a lot of fun,” Fickes said.
She also likes being able to joke more with the children and make them understand.
Fickes’ colleagues took note of his interaction with his students.
“Wendy puts love into everything she does. She is always trying new things and different ways to reach students. It stands out so that each student feels included. Her kindness shines through every day and she has been invaluable in mentoring new teachers, as well as working alongside seasoned teachers,” said Crystal Apple Award nominee Dana Davis. “Wendy’s positive behavior is contagious, and people can tell she cares about these kids all day, every day. She is truly an asset to this district and changing lives for the better, one child at a time.
Differentiating and meeting kids where they are is something really important to Fickes, as she has all the rangers of learners in all the different content areas – math, reading, science and social studies.
“Differentiation for academics is important, but I also felt like social emotional needs had been very strong. Some kids need more interaction to meet them. But, yeah, differentiation is definitely important, otherwise you lose a bunch of learners,” she said.
She loves working with elementary students because of their innocence, even in fifth grade like their teacher, “so I feel like I can impact young kids,” Fickes said. She also has a teenager at home, so she knows it can be harder to talk to them.
“The elementary age I definitely connect with more,” she said.
Her favorite part of the job is definitely the interactions she has with the students, even after they leave her class. She fondly recalls a recent email she received from a seventh grader she had taught in first and fifth grade and how excited she was to see this child grow.
“I see kids all over the community now, because I’ve been teaching for 20 years, they love going back to the early years even since I had them, Mrs. Fickes! I love having these relationships that I hope will last a lifetime as I see them in a community, that’s definitely my favorite part of teaching,” Fickes said.