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Simon calls it quits after 32 years

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / August 3, 1998

LAPLACE – Susan Simon was inspired to go into teaching by her high school teacher. In turn, Simon has influenced many other students over thepast three decades.

Simon recently retired from the St. Charles Parish School System after 32years of teaching. She began her career at Pecan Grove Elementary forthree years before spending three more years at J.B. Martin Junior High(now a middle school). For the past 26 years, she has taught English,French, reading and African American Studies at Destrehan High School.

During the 32 years, Simon said she has seen many changes in her profession. When she first started out, teachers used basic textbooks andcreated their own visual aids. Now textbooks come in complete setscomplete with teacher’s editions and workbooks, and technology has provided almost everything a student would need.

“We are constantly preparing and keeping up with changes in education to meet student needs,” Simon said. “We have had to change our techniquesand ways to reach them.”Simon said she enjoyed teaching in a school system that was always willing to try new methods of teaching.

“The St. Charles Parish School System was always willing to go out thereand research what the latest advancements are so they can be implemented for the betterment of the student,” Simon said.

Simon, a native of Reserve, is a graduate of Our Lady of Grace Catholic School. She received a bachelor of science degree in English and French atGrambling State University and did graduate work at Southeastern Louisiana University, where she received a masters of education degree in reading. She also did post-graduate studies at SLU and LSU.Reading has been important to Simon since she was little, and she said she reads everything she can find, especially mysteries. A member of the LSUWriting Project, Simon has served as building representative for the St.

Charles Reading Council and as a co-sponsor for the Culture Club.

Simon said a goal at Destrehan for the past three years was to improve students’ reading comprehension and standardized test scores. Simon saidreading also helps out in other areas of study.

“You cannot learn math or science without reading skills,” Simon said.

“You have to go back to basics. Everything goes back to reading.”Simon said the thing she enjoyed most about teaching was getting the students excited about learning.

“Knowing that I can reach a student and get them excited about learning,” Simon said, “I find that very rewarding.” On the other hand, Simon said the hardest thing about teaching is knowing that no matter how hard you try, there are some students who cannot be reached.

“You try and try and find that you can’t reach them,” Simon said. “I findthat depressing because you want to reach everyone.”But she said it is the students who had problems who are the ones who often come back and tell her that they realize now what she was telling them was for their benefit.

Simon thanked God for the opportunity to teach for so long, but said it is time to step away. Being a teacher is a year-round job now, going to in-service during the summer and bringing work home during the school year.

She said she plans to catch up on her reading and rest as well as doing charitable work. She has two children – Aaron and Germond Williams, thelatter of who is attending Northwestern Louisiana and plans to play football there.

“I have many fond memories of my teaching years in St. Charles ParishSchools, but now it is time for me to experience the feeling of just being at home and doing the things that I want to do,” she said.

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