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CU education students visit CMS, CHS

Jan. 19 2018
For Immediate Release

CMS Principal Zach Lewis, at left, and CHS Principal David Petett talk to Campbellsville University education students about what it’s like to be a teacher.
CMS Principal Zach Lewis, at left, and CHS Principal David Petett talk to Campbellsville University education students about what it’s like to be a teacher. (Campbellsville Independent Schools photo by Calen McKinney)

By Calen McKinney, public information officer, Campbellsville Independent Schools

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. — Campbellsville University education students recently visited Campbellsville middle and high schools to observe and learn what it’s like being a teacher.

CHS Principal David Petett and CMS Principal Zach Lewis spoke to students as they began their day.

Petett and Lewis have both been classroom teachers, and are now in their first year as principals.

Petett said everything with education leads back to the students.

“Buying in … that’s what being a teacher is all about,” he said.

Petett said he might occasionally butt heads with students, but his goal is to see every one of them walk across the stage with a diploma.

“You take it one student at a time,” he said. “There are no magic methods.”

Petett said one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher is making a difference in a child’s life.

“If you love kids, you’re in the right place,” he said.

But being a teacher isn’t easy, Petett said, and often requires night and weekend hours, and taking on extra duties.

“So, if you like a job that’s like a roller coaster, this is it.”

Petett said the curriculum at CHS is designed to be difficult, and to give students the tools they need to succeed in life.

He said there is no magic method to helping those who want to drop out of school, but it’s important to develop a relationship with students so they don’t feel that way.

At CHS, Petett said, about half of the students are enrolled in at least one Advanced Placement class, and about half are enrolled in vocational classes, co-op programs or internships.

“We pride ourselves on loving kids,” he said. “Sometimes it’s tough love.”

When he was studying to be a teacher, Petett said, he wishes he had known two pieces of advice, to always be genuine with kids and to show them you care.

“Kids will see through you,” he said. “But, show them, up or down, good or bad, you will be in their corner.”

Lewis said he believes the most important part of education is creating strong relationships with students and their parents.

He said it’s also important to give students some control of their education.

“That separates the good from the great,” he said.

Lewis said he encourages his students to take high school classes, so they can get ahead in their preparation for life after graduation.

He said it’s important to realize that each student is unique, and they all need something different to help them find their path to success.

Petett told the CU students that, in their teaching career, their focus will shift from them teaching to discovering what students can do in the classroom.

“I just want to help kids in whatever they need,” he said.

The first day as a teacher, Petett said, can be scary and difficult. That will change, he said.

Parents trust teachers with their most prized possessions, Petett said.

“We’re a small school. We hang our hat on that.”