Small animals beware: Simons is on the loose

Small animals beware: Simons is on the loose
Betsy Simons is definitely an interesting lady. Not only does she put up with high-schoolers every day, she also has a humorous history. Simons has been a teacher since 1975, working in Gettysburg, Clark and Gayville before coming to Vermillion in 2003. This is her first year full-time at VHS as she took over Sharon Ross's job after Ross retired last year. Simons now teaches American literature, language skills and also American heritage (which she co-teaches with Joe Delvaux). While she has surely had many interesting things happen in her classroom, somehow it is what happens when she goes home that makes the talk of the juniors' lunch tables.

One of the most memorable stories that she has shared with her classes includes herself, her husband, a few hamsters and a vacuum. "It's actually my husband's fault," Simons remarks. Here is the story: One day, Simons and her husband were cleaning out the tube in which their son's hamsters loved to play. They needed the vacuum's assistance to suck out the "crunchies" as Simons calls them. However, instead of just sucking up the "crunchies," it also sucked up a few baby hamsters along with it. "It's totally a true story," she says, adding that the surviving hamsters produced new ones soon after. Just the mention of hamsters and vacuums in her heritage class is enough to set off the class into smiles and laughter.

Yet another story that Simons is known for, throughout the junior class at least, is the memory of her poor cats. "I caught not one but two cats in the garage door," she explains. "My son is the one who calls me the cat killer." This tale is very self explanatory, to say the least. "The first time I was horrified," Simons says, "but the second time it happened … yeah … it was ridiculous."

A fact that few students and teachers at VHS know about Simons is that she was once a member of a rodeo. It was in her first year of teaching and the rodeo club had asked teachers to participate in a fund raiser. She was placed on a bucking bull and unfortunately, forgot to keep her balance. "(I was) slapped down like a pancake," she tells. She painfully walked away with a cracked collar bone and a broken thumb. Her family was shocked to say the least.

Another great story that she shares with her students relates to her history as a teacher. "A kid had a Hot Tamale in his nose when he came to class," she explains. He eventually had to leave American lit. to go down to the office because it started burning. The process of getting it out was probably a painful one at best.

At any time of the day, a mad or serious face is rarely seen anywhere near Simons. "Some people think I'm an eternal optimist," Simons says. "To me everything is funny." This fact is also well known by her students and fellow teachers. "She is always smiling, always laughing, always telling stories," junior Laura Jacobson comments. "She also jokes around with the students, which isn't something that you see in all teachers."

Whether it is entertaining stories in the classroom or dealing with Hot Tamale incidents, she has surely had quite the teaching career. "I never thought I would be teaching for all these years … I seriously did not," Simons concluded.

This story is published thanks to a joint agreement between the Plain Talk and Vermillion High School journalism class.

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