“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” Alexandra Trenfor
Susan Merchant began her teaching career 12 years ago as a math teacher at Dobbins Middle School. Still at Dobbins today, she teaches 8th and 9th grade Math, Honors Algebra 1, serves at the Math Department Chair and is the Academic Bowl Coach. This year she has a new title for her resume – Paulding County’s 2018 Teacher of the Year!
Susan’s interest in teaching came about when she saw firsthand how teachers impacted the lives of her own five children. “I began substituting at elementary and middle schools and decided that the middle school environment would be the best fit for me. With the support of my husband and children, I applied to the University of West Georgia and earned my bachelor degree in middle school education [with a concentration in Math and Science].”
In 2011 she earned her Master’s Degree with a Major in Brain-Based Teaching and a Concentration in Learning and Teaching. Then in 2012 she earned an Education Specialist Degree with a Major in Brain-Based Teaching and a Concentration in Teacher Leadership. Susan also has Gifted Endorsements in Mathematics (grade 6 – 12), Middle Mathematics (grades 4 – 8), Middle Science (grades 4 – 8), and Middle Social Studies (grades 4 – 8).
Susan loves teaching and is looking forward to another school year where she is able to share this love of math and teaching with her students. It is her hope the students learn who she is and will know from the start that “I will find ways to help them learn and hopefully like math by the end of the school year.”
Although Algebra is her favorite math content to teach, Susan shares, “My favorite thing about being a teacher is seeing my students truly understand the content being introduced in the classroom. I engage my students in the learning process daily through sharing of classwork with their classmates. My students are grouped based on strengths and weaknesses. They can share their work in an environment that is free of criticism. Students are encouraged to help others and not to ridicule if the answer is incorrect, but to help understand why the answer is wrong and how to solve for the correct answer. The goal in my classroom is for ALL students to succeed and for my students to encourage each other to be successful.”
Susan has been married to her husband, Audie for over 28 years. Though they are not originally from Paulding County, it’s now home to them since they have been here over 20 years. They have large family including five children and five grand-children.
Audie has worked in the auto parts business for over 30 years. He is very proud of his wife’s work and accomplishments, and has a kept a scrapbook with her awards and special mementos from her teaching career.
In her down time, Susan loves to sew and crochet. Every year she makes Christmas pajamas for everyone in the family from the youngest to the oldest.
Susan and Audie spend as much time together as they can. They have family in Maine and enjoy traveling there as often as they can. But mainly they enjoy relaxing and spending time together.
Math can be complicated but a good teacher who loves teaching, gets to know their students, allows participation and helpfulness, and encourages success is the perfect solution. This is why Susan Merchant is Paulding’s 2018 Teacher of the Year! We congratulate her on the well-deserved award and wish her all the best with the new school year.