Upper School

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Sue Ellen Sims

Faculty Information
Location(s) Upper School
Title(s) Upper School English
Contact Information
School Email
School Phone
(828) 274-0758   x375
Degree(s) B.S., East Carolina University
M.A., East Carolina University
Other Information
Sue Ellen Sims is an English teacher and department chair in the Upper School. Sue Ellen has been working at Carolina Day School since 1990. Her two children, Hannah Sims and McLeod Sims are CDS graduates.
Get to know Sue Ellen Sims:
In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? At Carolina Day I have the opportunity to create and hone lesson plans and units with input from students and peers. I have had multiple years to keep the best while building and refining elements of projects and activities. Many of the suggestions for changes have come from students themselves. My peers create a wonderful sounding board of ideas and my administration provide opportunities to develop new projects within my classroom.”
What do you like most about your job at CDS? I love engaging students in analysis and discussion about literature. Everyday we discuss classic and modern literature making realistic and relevant connections to their own lives. I love watching a student become passionate about a piece of literature, a piece of writing, even a piece of their own writing, or a piece of history explored in literature.”
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions? Students are encouraged to follow their passions in selecting courses and devising Independent Research Projects or Special Study Projects. Even within the context of the classroom, students may opt to select a research topic that leads them in a direction of interest or explore one that may prove interesting.”
How would you describe your classroom? “My classroom encourages students to think, speak, and analyze daily. Students learn to defend their positions in an analytical discussion with interpretation of a text, phrase, sentence, or even a word. Students learn to listen to each other and to weigh their own words and arguments orally in preparation for writing their arguments persuasively.”
What books and authors inspire you? “I love literature in all it’s forms: story, film, the classics, modern fiction, popular fiction, detective fiction, historical fiction, poetry. I love them all. Of course I love Shakespeare, Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Eugene O’Neill, Pablo Neruda, William Faulkner, Kate Chopin, and many more!”
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? I love to awaken students to their love for reading and a really good book!”
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “Tea and Dickens”: Discovering Charles Dickens as a popular fiction writer, understanding the themes of the Victorian period, and developing strong oral skills in presenting and defending textual analysis; “the Canterbury Pilgrimage”: Re-creating Chaucer’s Canterbury pilgrimage, learning about the Medieval period, the art of storytelling, and creating poetry/rap; “The Senior Reading Research Final Exam”: Students read literature and present their findings in a focused oral exam presentation; learning to trace a common theme through a wide range of literature and apply personal realizations through their own reflections and analysis.”
What personal passion brings balance to your life?Reading, story, family, love, faith.”
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work? Thirty-four years of teaching, reading, talking, directing, singing, dancing, laughing, growing, learning, yearning, dreaming, and always, always ready for more.”
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? “Students have a voice and a choice. Students have opportunities to stop and rest before beginning again, and so do faculty. So do we all. And we all need it, everyday.”
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