ABAC and Tifton are two things that have always been familiar to Sandra Giles. She has been a resident of Tifton, GA since the age of two, and attended Tift County High School. In high school, Giles dreamed of being on Broadway and majoring in music.
Giles attended ABAC, where she got her associates in English, before getting both her B.A. and M.A. in English at Valdosta State University (VSU). “It makes it seem like I always had a plan, but I didn’t”, Giles said when asked about her degrees. She decided to take a break before earning her Ph.D. at FSU.
Before settling on teaching, Giles dabbled in a few other professions. “I worked as a paralegal for a while. I worked on Tift County’s first death penalty case”. Giles even considered going to law school but decided against it. She didn’t like the thought of having someone else’s fate in her hands. She also worked as a technical writer. Giles began teaching at VSU in the fall of 1991.
She would return there to teach again in 1993 after her brief stint as a technical writer. Giles admitted she began teaching as something to do while she was trying to decide what she really wanted to do. “There are a lot of people in my family who are teachers. My parents are both teachers. My dad was one of the psychology professors here until he retired in ‘98”.
Giles joined the ABAC faculty in 1997 where she was able to teach English and got the chance to work on the same campus as her father. She didn’t get to see him very often, since they taught in different departments, but was still excited to be teaching alongside him.
When she first began teaching at ABAC, Giles taught English 1101, 1102 and remedial English. Today she teaches those same classes, along with upper-level classes such as rhetoric, intro to rural studies the internship and capstone classes.
Giles said the things she loves most about ABAC, and Tifton in general, are both the students and people. She feels that there is an emphasis on students and teaching here at ABAC. “Not all places do that, and I really like that.”
In her free time, Giles takes dance classes and loves to sing. After 25 years of not dancing, she was happy to take up her long-lost hobby again. When asked if she had any advice for students, she said: “Find a way to stay involved with things you love”.