Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Simons

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Teacher Spotlight: Mrs. Simons

Erika Sykes

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Friendswood has several iconic teachers and administrators that have been here since this city was a small farm town lost in between Galveston and Houston. These people have been vital in making the Friendswood School District an extraordinary learning environment for all the students that have passed through this school. Mrs. Simons has been an important part of forming this Friendswood legacy. 

It was my very first job. I like the community, but it was a very different community from what it is now. We had a couple of lights, a dairy queen, and a local grocery store, but that was about it,” Simons said. “I decided that this was where I wanted to raise my children. It is just home for me now.”

Part of Simons’ success in the classroom has been attributed to her openness with her students. She forms strong bonds with these kids to create a comfortable environment in her classroom. 

“I don’t want to say she’s not a rule follower, but she’s very comfortable in her own skin and saying what she believes,” English Specialist Mrs. Nye said. “A lot of people would not feel comfortable addressing kids and teaching kids the way things really are.”

“She loves her kids and so she is honest with them. She shares her opinions and she shares her ideas but she also listens to theirs,” Instructional Technology Specialist Mrs. Hiller said. “She really has a gift of getting to know her students.”

Not only does Mrs. Simons teach AP English 4, but she also devotes her time to the Academic Decathlon team. The team meets every morning in her classroom to practice, and they also travel to compete. 

 “In 1985 I was called into the office and asked to go to this meeting in Dallas about Academic Decathlon. It was new to the state of Texas. They said make a team, so I did.” Simons said. “I’ve retired from it two times because to do it well, you have to give it your heart and soul. After my kids graduated I took it back up, and I will probably do it until I retire.”

Some students experience her teaching in both AD and English. Although she varies slightly, her heart for teaching exists in both realms. 

“For the most part, Mrs. Simons is the same in AD and AP 4,” Senior Alice Nguyen said. “She can be more intense in AD coach mode because she pushes us to do our best both as individuals and as a team, so there is a certain degree of competitiveness and pressure that she has to assume so we can come out as champions.”

Mrs. Simons’ teaching style has evolved throughout her years her at Friendswood High School. As this is the only school she’s ever taught at, she has learned what works best for this community of students. 

“Sometimes I think that I was caught up in the quantity of work and not the quality of work. Now in my more experienced years of teaching, I think that I am much more relaxed in the classroom, and I leave those moments of time to have discussions,” Simons said. “Whether it be English or current events or life, I think all of those things are relevant. Students need to be able to showcase their opinions.”

Mrs. Simons has definitely left a mark on every student that has passed through her classes. Students remember her presence and tenacity in the classroom for years to come.

“Mrs. Simons has taught me to do everything with intent and to always put my best foot forward in all aspects of life,” Nguyen said. “She has taught me the value of interpersonal relationships and the effect one person can have on a multitude of people.”

Mrs. Simons has had a long career here at FHS and many are looking to see what her next step is. Some speculate she may be close to retirement.

“I think retirement is within the next couple of years. I don’t know exactly which year, but I still want one more state championship so that’s a motivating factor for me,” Simons said. “I also always get attached to the kids in the AD class that are going to be returners and that I see great promise in. But there will be a time and it will be sooner rather than later.”

Even when Mrs. Simon’s does decide to retire, she will leave a legacy that positively affects the English Department and the Academic Decathlon team for many years to come. 

“We don’t want her to leave ever, but when she does decide that she’s going to move on and try something new, she is going to leave with us that sense of “what’s best for kids”,” Mrs. Hillier said.