Ms. Simmons has been teaching for 21 years in the school system.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?
I decided to become a teacher because of my grandmother. She was a pre-K teacher in Washington D.C. and I was able to work with her during the summers and saw her dedication to working with her students every day. She not only taught her pre-K students, but she also connected with their families and made sure that [they] had the food, clothing and a safe place to stay. My grandmother showed me that teaching doesn’t just happen in the classroom, but making connections to your students’ families will help the students to grow.

I also always wanted to teach my own kids and show them my love for teaching. I was blessed to be able to teach my daughter in third grade and now I am currently my son’s fifth grade science teacher.

What is a goal of yours as a teacher?
I would LOVE to travel to other countries in which education is not as easily available to all students. I believe that being able to provide learning opportunities in other countries that do not have resources and opportunities that we have in America will be the most rewarding way to finish my teaching career.

What is your favorite book and why?
My favorite kids’ book is Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar because it has 30 chapters about the students in Mrs. Jewls’ class. The stories show what a real classroom is like, each student is unique and has their own talent and struggles.

Is there anything you would change in our school system?
I feel that schools need to provide more hands-on learning opportunities for students. Many students may not have the opportunity to experience traveling outside of their neighborhood. I try to provide as many hands-on learning experiences as possible for my students. For example, when my class was learning about whales, I brought in a life-sized inflatable whale that the students were able to walk inside of and measure.

Teacher of the Month Riverview/Apollo Beach is sponsored by Align Right Realty.