Home Admissions Catalog Financial Aid Schedules Distance Learning

Halifax CC alum is passionate about teaching, loves to go to work

Halifax Community College alum Pauletta Smallwood loves to go to work. Smallwood is a first-year, second grade teacher at Gaston Elementary School. A graduate of the Elizabeth City State University Teacher Prep program this year, Smallwood also completed her student teaching at Gaston Elementary, in the same classroom in fact.


While at HCC, Smallwood was in the Early Childhood Education program and graduated in May 2007. Afterwards, she worked at the HCC Childcare Center for almost three years.


Originally from Garysburg, she now lives in Halifax and is a single parent raising three children.


“Now that I’m teaching, they’re so proud,” said Smallwood of her children. “When they came to my graduation and they called my name to get my degree, my youngest son said, ‘Mommy, you won, you won.’ And I said, ‘You’re right, I did win.’”


She added, “Just the thought of my children seeing me achieve something keeps me going. I always tell them that anything you set your mind to doing, you can do it. You’re going to have obstacles, but the trick is learning how to get over them. Don’t let them stop you.”


Smallwood always wanted to be a teacher, even as a child. She would line up her teddy bears and dolls and teach them. She has always loved working with children ever since high school. “I’ve just always been passionate about teaching and watching children learn.”


She hopes that her students will take the information that she provides in class and go beyond it. “I tell them to always research things,” she explained. “I like for them to look ahead and I tell them to set their goals.”


Through field trips and class information, Smallwood imparts to her students that their goals are attainable and learning starts now.


She says that the best part about teaching is working with the children and seeing them learn and knowing that she is part of their lives. “I try to help them every step of the way and encourage them.”


“I love my job. I wake every morning ready to come to work and that’s a good feeling,” said Smallwood.


Plus, the teacher is also a student. Smallwood is currently enrolled at Kaplan University, working on a transition degree program in child psychology.


When asked how she managed to take care of her children, home responsibilities, work and go to school, she tells people, “I just did it. It’s no secret. You don’t think about how much work it is if it’s something that you really want to achieve. You just go for it. If you stop and think about how much work it is, you’re not going to do it.”

Pauletta Smallwood

Pauletta Smallwood