Tim Simmons teaches 10th grade English and lower, middle and upper school music at Delaware Valley Friends School. Tim has been at DVFS for 10 of his 21 years of total teaching experience. About half of his career has been spent working with students who learn differently. Tim has developed the music program at DVFS around the concept of improvisation. He graduated from the Music for People's Musicianship and Leadership Program in 2014 with certification in teaching musical improvisation. In addition to music classes, Tim also gives private lessons to our students in drums, guitar, bass, audio engineering, and beginning piano. He facilitates the DV Drummers and the DV Rock Band, and also coordinates weekly drum circles, jam sessions, and recording sessions in the Music room.
Q: Why do you like teaching at DVFS?
The teachers at DV are amazing. They are knowledgeable and work together really well. In addition, the students blow my mind. They are creative, ambitious, and thoughtful.
Q: How is DVFS different than other schools where you have taught?
The sense of community here is stronger than at any other school where I have taught. I also appreciate the amount of respect afforded to the students here.
Q: How do you help students with learning differences learn?
The main ways in which I help students with learning differences is by focusing on process over product. I have said countless times to my students that the content at this point in their academic career is not as important as the process. For example, I am less interested in their remembering every detail from the novel we read than I am that they understand HOW to read a work of fiction independently in the future.
Q: What is a unique experience, talent or interest that you bring to your classroom to help shape the learning experience of your students?
I think my sense of humor helps keep my class interesting. At the very least, I know I make myself laugh!
Q: In your experience, what sets DVFS students apart?
DV students are unique in that they are incredibly self-aware. Their ability to advocate for themselves and understand how they learn best gives them a definite leg up. It also helps build compassion so that they can better "honor that of God in everyone,” which is a central tenet of our Quaker belief system at DV.
Q: How do your other roles at the school provide a different perspective?
I am privileged to be able to see the students both as readers of literature in English class, and as creative individuals in the music room. Often, when I have a student in both English and Music, I see two completely different people in each class. This is amazing to witness, and it really shows me the depth of our students.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about DVFS?
I truly believe that our identity as a Quaker institution is what makes us such a powerful place, It is not possible to overstate the value of our Quaker roots!