Profiles in Pedagogy May secondary

Haley Pettus

Mercer County Schools’ May Profiles in Pedagogy honoree for secondary is Mrs. Haley Pettus from PikeView Middle School.  Mrs. Pettus holds two bachelor's degrees, English Literature and English Education as well as a master’s degree in Special Education all from Concord University. 

Mrs. Pettus thinks the best thing about being an English teacher is when her class is reading a novel together and the students beg for “just one more chapter”.  Even students who don’t particularly love reading seem to find one novel they love throughout the year.  Her class recently finished the first book in a series, and the students were fighting over the second book in her classroom library.  Since most of them had already been checked out by other students, she read a few pages aloud for them.  One student even suggested that the class read on Microsoft Teams together over the summer. She says, “Moments like this mean so much more to me than any test score ever could!” 

One thing Mrs. Pettus thinks others don’t understand about being a teacher is that their minds literally never stop.  “Our job doesn’t end when we leave the school in the afternoon; we spend our evenings and weekends thinking about how we are going to keep our students engaged will also grading papers.” 

Teaching during a pandemic has taught Mrs. Pettus that forming positive relationships with students is even more important than originally thought.  Mrs. Pettus says, “It was so difficult teaching students online at the beginning of the year because I didn’t know them at all.  Once we formed a bond, it was much easier to keep them engaged during Teams meetings and on remote learning days.” 

Mrs. Pettus’s advice to young people thinking about a career in education is to work hard on forming relationships and bonds with your students at the beginning of every school year.  You can read every book on classroom management and enforce every single rule, but nothing works better than you and your students showing mutual respect for one another. 

As a young student, Mrs. Pettus wasn’t the best student.  “I wasn’t a very good student in middle school or the beginning of high school,” she says, “but I had an English teacher in 9th/10th grades who told me I should be in an honors class.  This led me to believing in myself and working harder in all classes, but especially in English.  She would let me read from her classroom library when I finished our class novel, and I felt so smart.” 

Mrs. Pettus’s idea of the perfect school is one that is welcoming for all learning styles.  Hands-on learning, group activities, and field trips would be used in combination with traditional learning to keep students engaged and excited about learning.  A wide array of electives would be offered so that students could be exposed to different activities and find something that motivates them.  In the perfect school, her classroom would also have cozy reading corners where students could read independently. 

In her spare time, Mrs. Pettus loves spending time with her children, Emmett and Eli, and her husband, Cody.  She loves to go on trips and see new things with them.  Summer is her favorite because she gets to experience being a “Stay at Home Mom” for a couple of months and they make so many great memories together. 

Please join us in celebrating Mrs. Haley Pettus as our May Profiles in Pedagogy honoree!