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Mariah McLendon

Preschool Teacher At First Steps Learning Academy

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My Experience

Growing up I was always a very nurturing person. So once I reached the age of 15 I started a part-time job babysitting! I learned that I am a natural at caring for children. A little while down the line I started pursing a degree in Elementary Education. This gave me so many opportunities to have hands-on experiences with teaching children. Whenever I moved back home from college I started a job at Childcare Network in DeFuniak Springs! While at Childcare Network I worked primarily in the toddler classroom. Although I thought being a toddler teacher was my calling, I recently discovered that I love working with VPK/School-Age children. My time at First Steps Learning Academy has allowed me to experience a totally different environment and age range that I have found out, I love! Recently I completed my DCF Certifications, and I am now moving forward to complete FCCPC. After obtaining my certificate through FCCPC I would love to continue my college education and get a degree in Early Childhood Learning! 

Working with Children

Being able to teach children has always brought me so much joy. Whether it be babysitting, tutoring, or working in a daycare! The number one thing I've always loved about teaching is watching how the children grow in and out of the classroom. Parents are the number one teachers in a child's life, but it is our job to continue that education. I love watching their minds solve problems! Whether it be the way they write their name, or if they want to share a toy with a friend. Being an educator you get first hand experiences at watching children grow into young adults. The connections you make with the children, their parents, and their families are all worth it in the end to me! I have students from old jobs that still remember me and everything I did to help them grow into the people they are today. That is the most motivating thing to me whenever it comes to being an educator. 

About ME

Once you get to know me, there are many things that make me happy! Above all else, the thing that makes me the happiest is spending time with my family! We love to watch movies, cookout, and just all around have a great time together. My go-to movie would have to be Grease or Shrek 2. Whenever we watch TV shows I love watching anything crime related (preferably Criminal Minds or Bones). I do however, like to get away from electronics every now and then to sketch some pictures. When given the opportunity to go-out and enjoy a dinner I love going to Italian restaurants, but nobody can outcook my mom! I've been told that I am a very competitive person. While playing video games, going mini golfing, or going laser tagging if I am not winning I am such a sore loser! I probably get that characteristic from my mom. I strive to be the very best at everything I do to make her proud. 

My Family

I was born and raised in DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Growing up I spent a lot of time with my mom and my two sisters (Micah and Myranda). I graduated from Walton High School in the top 10 of my senior class. After graduation I moved away to attend Troy University where I pursued a degree in Elementary Education. Sadly, adulting is VERY hard! So, after a year of attending the university, I had to move back home to pursue a more affordable education. My older sister Micah has blessed me with the sweetest nieces and nephew you could ever imagine! I look after them as if they were my own. Recently however, I was blessed with my own baby to take care of! Me and my boyfriend Noah are expecting a baby boy (Noah Malachi Bearden) to be arriving soon in March of 2022! He is already so spoiled and we are so excited to meet him very soon! 

Life's Awesome Moments

Working With First Steps Learning Academy 

Although I have not been at First Steps Learning Academy for long, it has been hands down one of the best jobs I've ever had! My co-workers were so welcoming on my first day and made me feel as if we are one big family! The children have been so open to learning and getting to know me as well, it definitely makes me feel at home. Being the new person was difficult in the beginning because you are surrounded by 15 kids who's name you are not familiar with quite yet. As you progress and start learning every child's name, you start to figure out who they are as a person as well. Every parent I have come into contact with has been so sweet and open to creating a teacher-parent relationship with me! Although I am just starting, I look forward to many more experiences with every teacher, student, and parent throughout the years! 

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