Sims grew up not far from where she now teaches. She completed her Undergraduate and Graduate degrees at the University of Alabama, but also studied at La Universidad de Alcalá de Henares in Madrid, Spain. She continues to learn constantly, not only through her students, but also through her network of talented colleagues across Tuscaloosa.
“This summer, two TCSS teachers, Kim Pate and Kim Davis, introduced me to a new method of teaching foreign language,” Sims said. “They convinced me to change nearly everything I have been doing in my classroom over the last 19 years. I’m thankful that my administration was so open to the idea, because the results have been amazing.”
Sims’ new approach focuses more on using the language interactively rather than on the standard strategy of repetition and memorization. The students also opted to be more unconventional, opting to rid the classroom of desks.
“I am having more fun teaching than I have, well, ever,” Sims said. “But the absolute best part is that my kids are learning so much.”
Although she had a love of learning and a knack for teaching from a young age, Sims wasn't always confident she would be a teacher. Early in life, her timid nature kept her from speaking in public, putting a career that revolves around speaking in front of a large group of students out of the question.
Eventually, through the help of some very inspiring local teachers, she was able to find her voice and overcome her shy nature. One of those influential classes was her high school musical theatre class with Sabrina Case. By the time Sims took the stage for her first performance, it was clear nothing was going to hold her back.
“I love seeing a student like me walk through the door,” Sims said. “When I can convince them to stay despite their apprehensions, I get a chance to pay that forward just a little bit.”
It is evident through Sims’ example that even teachers still always have something to learn, but the greatest teachers are the ones who never lose their willingness to step into something new. With the wisdom and encouragement of teachers such as Sims behind them, Northside’s students are certainly set to excel.
“The one word I would use to sum up my job is fulfilling,” Sims said. “I get to see teenagers grow into themselves and discover their paths – and I am lucky enough to play a small part in that.”