Pettigrew fosters growth, builds foundations in her elementary classrooms
Growth and learning are pivotal words for East Carolina University alumna Cameron Pettigrew.
“One of my favorite parts about being a first-grade teacher is seeing my students grow and learn new things every day,” she said.
That growth mindset was instilled in Pettigrew while at ECU as an elementary education major, with the help of mentors and professors who encouraged her on her path as a future teacher.
“My time at ECU will always hold a special place in my heart,” she said. “ECU is where I met my very best friends and built relationships with various mentors and professors who shaped me into the person and teacher I am today.”
Some of the valuable skills Pettigrew is utilizing in her classroom include writing effective lesson plans, executing classroom management, and collecting student data. She credits ECU for giving her those skills and having a tremendous impact on her career.
“The classes I took, the internships I was placed in, and the experiences I had came from the people and students I worked with during my time at ECU,” she said. “Jennifer Adams, Julie Stanley, and Angela Novak were some of my favorite professors that I had the chance to learn from, and I am so thankful for their guidance and the knowledge they passed onto me.”
While at ECU, Pettigrew was committed to her academics, making the dean’s and/or chancellor’s lists throughout all four years. College ministry was also integral to her time as a Pirate.
“The people I met and the time I spend attending FUSE (an on-campus ministry) weekly truly changed me as a person and helped my relationship with Christ grow,” she said. “I was involved in volunteering with FUSE on the greeting team, as well as leading a small group during my junior year.”
Pettigrew has known that she wanted to be educator since her second-grade Career Day when she dressed up as a teacher. While she didn’t understand all the facets of being a teacher, she was able to take part in a class during her senior year of high school that filled in the gaps and solidified her love of the profession.
“Through my Teacher Cadet class, I worked in a kindergarten classroom, and the impact that made on my life showed me how important teaching and working with children was,” she said. “Since then, I decided to pursue teaching in college, and I am so glad I made that choice! Seeing how children think and digest information, and how they can grow over a period of time is so rewarding and special to be a part of.”
Pettigrew’s dedication to her craft has not gone unnoticed. During the 2022-2023 academic year, she was named one of Nash County’s First Year Teachers of the Year.
“As a first year teacher, I am constantly learning about what it means and what it looks like to be the best teacher I can be,” she said. “Receiving the title of First Year Teacher of the Year solidified that my hard work and love for my job was paying off, and that I am doing what God made me to do.”
Throughout her first year teaching, Pettigrew feels that her behavior management and academic growth with students has continuously improved. She enjoys creating student-centered lessons that focus on what her students want and need to learn, but that also challenge and excite them.
“I’ve seen some students who do not like school open up and participate in lessons to further their learning,” she said. “I’ve seen the joy and excitement on students’ faces that feel like giving up when things are hard but choose to push through and face challenges head on. It’s so rewarding to experience that on a daily basis and see my students’ confidence grow as they learn.”
When she’s not in the classroom, Pettigrew enjoys spending time with her friends and family, painting and calligraphy. She also loves going out to eat Mexican food and shopping at Target and Hobby Lobby for new things for her classroom.