During National Teacher Appreciation Week this week, AAPS District News is profiling teachers who are completing their first year at Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Joe B. Sims grew up in Ypsilanti and graduated from Willow Run High School. He received his teaching degree from Eastern Michigan University in 2011, and taught for two years with Global Educational Excellence Schools and two years in Ypsilanti Community Schools. This school year he began what he calls his dream job of teaching fifth grade at Pittsfield Elementary.
Sims has been married to Scarlett Middle School paraprofessional Jawanna Sims for 21 years, and they have four children: daughters Janae and Jayla, who graduated from Skyline High School; daughter Joiya, who attends Skyline; and son Josiah, who attends A2 STEAM.
Sims, who is actively involved at his church, and enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf.
Why did you want to work for AAPS? It has been my aspiration to work for AAPS because of the strong ties I have to the district. These ties include living in the district and being a parent of students that attend AAPS. I have witnessed, first hand, the wonderful programs and services that AAPS provides. As a result, I pursued the opportunity to serve my community by teaching in it.
How does having your own classroom compare to student teaching? Having my own classroom is a welcomed challenge compared to student teaching but is also a privilege. Through my mentor, I learned that being prepared, organized, using good classroom management skills and building relationships are the foundations of being an exceptional teacher.
What has surprised you about this first year of teaching at AAPS? The vast technology resources that AAPS has for the classroom have surprised me. It is amazing how many different methods and uses of technology are available for my classroom this year! I am grateful that AAPS invests in these tools to help teachers and students.
When did you realize it was going to be a good year? I realized it was going to be a good year when I was embraced with warm smiles and encouraging words by my fabulous principal and our excellent staff. From day one, they offered tips on teaching the AAPS curriculum and donated materials to me. Also, I would be remiss if I did not thank the incredible PTO for their help in getting my classroom started.
What if anything will you do differently next year? My goal for next year is to attend more workshops and conferences to build on my teaching portfolio. As a result, there will be concrete evidence in the growth of my students and myself. I appreciate this honor to teach at AAPS and I am looking forward to many years to come.
_Jo Mathis, AAPS District News Editor