District One’s top teacher fulfilled career goal after long detour

Published 1:03 pm Friday, August 22, 2008

Giles explained that her career path took a detour after she began to doubt during her college years in the 1970s whether she really wanted to be a teacher.&bsp; In the midst of a generation of &dquo;freethinkers&dquo; Giles expressed that during that time of her life she was worried that her choices were too limited.

&dquo;Most girls born in the 50&squo;s had been ingrained to think that the two careers open to us were teaching and nursing,&dquo; she said.

&bsp;After changing her major from teaching to nursing and then to general studies, Giles eventually left the University of South Carolina Spartanburg without a degree.

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By that time Giles was married and decided to enter the workforce.&bsp; She worked in advertising sales for WSPA television, but eventually she left and became a mother to two sons.

When her first son was born in 1985, she explained that she became enthralled with the teaching side of mothering.

Giles had been involved with her sons&squo; schools and worked as a volunteer at New Prospect Elementary.&bsp; Later on she became a substitute teacher and stated that she loved any opportunity to teach.&bsp; The decision for her to become a teacher did not come to fruition until after her children had graduated from high school.

Giles said that finally she realized that life offered &dquo;no guarantees for the future.&dquo;

&dquo;If I wanted to pursue my goal, there was no time like the present,&dquo; she said.

Giles enrolled at Converse College where she finished her Bachelor of Art degree in English in 2002 and then her MAT in 2004. She described her teaching style as eclectic stating, &dquo;I&squo;m not young and maybe as worried about what the students are thinking about me.&bsp; I just love to have fun with them.&dquo;

A back to school event was held last Friday at Chapman High School where Giles was invited to speak and share her personal experience of how and why she became a teacher. Giles returned to the classroom this week and said that she is excited and nervous, but ultimately looking forward to having fun with the students.

She is teaching ninth grade exclusively.&bsp; She said that when teaching Literature she likes to make her lessons interactive and on occasion theatrical.

When she taught &dquo;The Odyssey&dquo; students were encouraged to cheer for the &dquo;good guys&dquo; and boo the &dquo;bad guys&dquo; while they shared bread and grape juice, (which represented wine.)

&dquo;I think that helps build a rapport.&bsp; I want to have them moving and engaged,&dquo; she said.

It is the first major award for Giles who expressed that she is honored that her work is being appreciated.

Landrum High School Principal Brian Sherman stated in a press release that Giles was just that type of teacher that never stops working.&bsp; He added, &dquo;She never gives up on a child and [she is] the type of teacher you want your child to have.&dquo;

Along with teaching a new course, Language Enrichment, Giles will be working toward her National Board Certification.

&dquo;The day I was hired by Landrum High School in Spartanburg District One was truly one of the happiest days of my life,&dquo; she said.