"Prior to becoming an art educator, I was a graphic designer. I received a BFA in graphic design from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston, MA. Some of my fondest memories in art were when I created homemade cards for friends and family. Greeting cards and handmade art were accessible for me and I enjoyed being able to express my thoughts and feelings through  this medium. I owe a lot of my inspiration to my former high school graphic design teacher. She saw a lot in me and encouraged me to apply to various art contests, at first winning state competitions and later moving onto national art level contests. She built up my self-esteem and it allowed me to gain confidence in myself. In 2012, I decided to return to grad school, where I received an MAT in teaching art from Salem State University. I chose to study art education because I realized as an adult that I enjoyed mentoring and helping others. Art and education was the perfect combination. I remembered how much of an influence my teacher was for me and I wanted to be a role model for future artists. Now being a part of social media, My hope is that others can gain new insight into parenting, teaching and Art-making.

My favorite thing about teaching art is that art is for everyone. There are so many paths and avenues to explore. There is an option for everyone. I love finding the connection between art and our daily lives. Art is not only about  the process but it is also about learning and appreciating what you have made. As an arts educator, I want my students to know they are important and that their voice matters.

After having my own children, juggling grad school, being a new mom of twins and working full-time, I realized that being a teacher helped me balance my work and personal life. Social media helped me connect with other parents, teachers who were also parents and even more specifically teachers who also taught art and were parents. I am so grateful for the online community that has been so supportive of my personal art and my new teaching career. I only hope to inspire others with my own experience.

Art was not an acceptable career choice in Asian cultures. As I look back at my education, it wasn’t until my freshman year of college where I had my first Asian female art teacher. I currently work in Lynn, Massachusetts at a public charter school. Lynn is a diverse city located 10 miles northeast of Boston, MA. The best part of my job is getting to interact with students, building relationships, and helping students find their artistic voice. I remember a parent of a kindergarten student sharing with me that her daughter was so excited for art class because her teacher looked like her.

My advice for new educators interested in teaching art is that the arts are essential, you are essential. The arts are an integral part of the overall curriculum and provide students with an experience not taught in other educational areas. The arts offer tools for self-expression and for making connections between emotion and understanding, tools for bringing meaning and beauty into our daily lives. An arts education can provide the necessary tools for problem-solving and effectively communicating ideas. These tools are essential in providing students with a foundation for understanding the present as well as the future."

To learn more about Mrs.Wicks and her journey as teacher:

Instagram: @art.teacher.mrs.wicks