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Susan Isaac Honored for Helping Student Writers

Teacher honored for helping student writers

By Amy H. Mullis – The Union-Recorder

As soon as she heard the words \”a gem hidden away in the OCB (Old Capitol Building),\” Susan Isaac knew she had won the Moore Family Fund for Teacher Enrichment award.

Isaac, an assistant professor of English at Georgia Military College, said she remembered Dr. Paula Payne, chair of her department, telling her another faculty member had paid her the comment.

\”It was so sweet,\” Isaac said. \”And obviously you\’re not going to forget those words, so when I heard that, I thought, \’Oh my God, that\’s me. I remember that quote.\”

According to Janeen Smith Garpow, director of public relations at GMC, the award is given as a salary supplement to \”a junior college faculty member who is improving the writing skills of students in the interest of enhancing their capacity for contributing to their community, state and nation through the use of the English language.\”

But Isaac said her actions are not based on winning an award. They are the visible evidence of a love she has for her students.

\”I just love my students. I love being in the classroom with them,\” she said. \”They\’re the ones that motivate me.\”

Isaac said when students finish learning about a writing application in her classes, she will give a worksheet to test their skill level and will then ask them if they need more guidance in that particular application.

\”To me, it\’s about them learning how to write, not just the mechanics of it, but really learning how to write,\” she said.

In preparing material for her application for the award, Isaac said she had to explain her teaching philosophy.

She said even though the explanation of the philosophy was lengthy, the point can be made in three words.

\”Preach, practice and perform,\” Isaac said. \”The idea is to present the material, have the students practice it and then, of course, they have to perform.\”

Isaac said in teaching the first and second composition courses at GMC, her goal is to prepare students to write research papers, and she said the key to success in that challenge is \”baby stepping.\”

\”They do like a two-page paper in the beginning until they\’re doing a full-fledged five-to 10-page research paper in the end, so they\’re confident enough they can go to any class and write a research paper,\” Isaac said. \”If I can do that, I feel good.\”

Isaac has been at GMC for five years and prior to that was a case worker with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Oconee. She is originally from Tennessee, where she attended East Tennessee University to receive her bachelor and master\’s degree.

She and her husband Walter moved to Milledgeville after he accepted a job at Georgia College & State University. Walter is an associate professor of psychology at GC&SU.

According to a release from GMC, the Moore Family Fund is an endowment established by brothers, Powell A. Moore and Jere N. Moore Jr., and their aunt, Dr. Floride Moore Gardner, in memory of Jeremiah N. Moore, one of the founders of GMC and member of the GMC Board of Trustees; his son, Robert Boling Moore, and grandson Jere N. Moore, both who served on the GMC board of trustees and his daughter, Mattie Moore, who taught at GMC Elementary School.

Amy H. Mullis covers Jones County for The Union-Recorder. She can be reached at (478) 453-1458 or by e-mail at newsroom@unionrecorder.com