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Plaid Truth

The student news site of Royal High School

Plaid Truth

The student news site of Royal High School

Plaid Truth

Teacher Spotlight

English and math teacher Mrs. Simmons.
Makayla Bell
English and math teacher Mrs. Simmons.

There are many teachers and staff at Royal High School that we see everyday and every year. Most students do not know much about them even if they have them as a teacher, or bother to talk to the friendly staff around campus. Sometimes students wonder if they can get to know the teacher better, get a closer connection/bond. That is why three lucky teachers were found to be part of the spotlight. 

Mr. Pine (Makayla Bell)

ASL teacher Mr. Pine had been interviewed and gave out some very thoughtful answers. 

Q:What is something that motivates you?

A: Making magic happen, whether it’s in the classroom or theater.

Q:Where did you go to school, what college?

A: I received my BA in theater from The Ohio State University, and my MA in teaching ASL as a foreign language teacher at College of Columbia University. 

Q: How many years have you been teaching?

A: This is my 15th year teaching, but my first with Simi Valley Unified. I was previously with LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School District) 

Q:What are your favorite hobbies?

A: Video games, reading, taking care of my own vegetable garden, feeding the neighborhood hummingbirds. 

Q:What is the best thing about being a teacher?

A: Leading students to “Ah-Ha” moments. Also, keeping up with the current trends/lingo…#Slay!

Q:What makes your day better at school?

A: When students appreciate my dad jokes, and playing soccer in the hall. 

Q:If you read what is your favorite book, if you prefer movies, what is your favorite movie?

A: My all-time favorite book is “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” currently I am loving “The Murderbot Diaries” series. 

Q:What is your favorite holiday?

A: Talk like a Pirate Day and Star Wars Day

Q:Why did you choose to pursue this subject of teaching?

A: In college, I was able to acquire ASL better than Spanish because I was a visual-manual learner. I thought it would be good to provide that option to other students who might struggle with learning a spoken language. Also, back when I was choosing my career path, no one was hiring technical theater teachers and teaching ASL was a way to get into education.  

Q:What would be the craziest experience that you had here at Royal? Or memorable?

A: The homecoming pep rally was amazing. The school spirit and creativity was crazy impressive. 

Q:How would you describe your experience here as a Royal teacher?

A: An adventure.

Q:If you had the opportunity to teach something else, what would you teach?

A: In the past I’ve also taught Stagecraft (technical theater) but if I had to pick something I’ve never taught before, then video game design. 

Mr. Boerem (Makayla Bell)

Social Studies teacher Mr. Boerem had a lot to share as well!

Q: What is something that motivates you?

A: I am motivated to provide the best life for my family and myself.

Q: Where did you go to school, what college?

A: I graduated from Simi Valley High School. From there I went to Moorpark College, then transferred to Cal State Northridge where I graduated. While I was at CSUN I was able to participate in the National Student Exchange program, and spent a semester at the University of Hawaii. I attended New York University for graduate school where I received a Masters Degree and a teaching credential.   

Q: How many years have you been teaching?

A: This is my 15th year teaching, and my 6th year at Royal.

Q: What are your favorite hobbies?

A: My favorite hobby is traveling. I have recently taken up running, but I don’t know if I would consider it a hobby yet.

Q: What is the best thing about being a teacher?

A: There are many things that are great about teaching. I really enjoy working with young people. I appreciate that my career benefits the community.  I also like that every day is different, and that I have a lot of freedom when it comes to how I teach and run my classroom.  As a parent, teaching is also great because I have the same schedule as my children.

Q: What makes your day better at school?

A: For me, a good day is when students are engaged and participating in class.

Q: If you read what is your favorite book, if you prefer movies, what is your favorite movie?

A: I love to read, so selecting a favorite book is difficult.  I tend to stick with mostly fiction. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk is also one of my favorite novels. When it comes to the classics, I enjoyed 1984 and Frankenstein. I also read fantasy and my favorite series is The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. 

Q: What is your favorite holiday?

A: Thanksgiving. I love traditional Thanksgiving food, it is a good opportunity to spend time with family and friends and I enjoy the fall.

Q: Why did you choose to pursue this subject of teaching?

A: I have enjoyed learning about history since I was a kid, and my family was very plugged into the news when I was a young, so Social Studies has always interested me.

Q: What would be the most craziest experience that you had here at Royal? Or memorable?

A: One of my most memorable experiences at Royal was when we had a Brown Bag Lunch speaker who explained to students why they should NOT vote.  It was very interesting to see and hear the students’ reaction to his presentation. It was a good example of the 1st Amendment freedom of speech in action.  

Q: How would you describe your experience here as a Royal teacher?

A: I love teaching at Royal.  I have taught at a number of other schools before Royal including private and charter schools. Royal is the best school I have taught at. Royal has a great staff, administration and a really interesting and diverse mix of students.

Q: If you had the opportunity to teach something else, what would you teach?

A: I don’t think there is another subject that I would prefer to teach, but if I were to do something else in education, I think I would enjoy being a College and Career Counselor.

Mrs. Simmons (Makayla Bell)

English and math teacher Mrs. Simmons had some input to add on as well!

Q: What is something that motivates you?

A: My husband and kids.

Q: Where did you go to school, what college?

A: I got my Bachelor’s degree about 15 years ago from an online school, and I got my teaching credential from Cal Lutheran.

Q: How many years have you been teaching?

A: This is my third and half year of teaching.

Q: What are your favorite hobbies?

A: Eating, playing cards & games, spending time with my family.

Q: What is the best thing about being a teacher?

A: Helping others and forming relationships with my students.

Q: What makes your day better at school?

A: Students smiling and being respectful.

Q: If you read what is your favorite book, if you prefer movies, what is your favorite movie?

A: Definitely more of a movie watcher than a reader! I don’t have a fave, but I like funny stuff. Anything with Jim Carrey, Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Will Ferrell….hilarious!

Q: What is your favorite holiday?

A: Christmas

Q: Why did you choose to pursue this subject of teaching?

A:  I was a paraeducator first for 7 years so I knew SpEd (Special Education) was for me. I love helping others and making them feel welcome.

Q: What would be the most craziest experience that you had here at Royal? Or memorable?

A: Last year, a senior on the football team nominated me as a teacher that has made a difference in his life! I was so flattered!

Q: How would you describe your experience here as a Royal teacher?

A: A wild ride! I started teaching during COVID and I’ve been running ever since! heehee.

Q: If you had the opportunity to teach something else, what would you teach?

A: Hmmm, I’m pretty happy with teaching English and Consumer Math. Maybe in a different life, I would try something in the counseling/therapy field.

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About the Contributor
Makayla Bell, Reporter
Hi, my name is Makayla Bell. I live in Simi Valley and attend Royal High School. I am in the graduating class of 2024, my last year here, attending Royal. This would be the first Journalism class that I have ever taken, and I look forward to creating many stories to share with any future/upcoming readers. My hobbies are writing, reading, drawing, painting, and gaming. I love to be really inspired and to let my creative side flow. I have two cats and three dogs, and they are my everything. I love to go out and travel when possible because it gives me many opportunities to explore/visit new things that I haven’t encountered before. I love to talk and meet new people as well, I am very friendly and easygoing. I also have a weird sense of humor and love memes. After graduation, I am thinking of attending a college or trade school to either work on design or work with animals.

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