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What Are Students Saying?


Maggie Bates

“Although I was raised in Nashville, I was not originally at Vanderbilt University. I studied at The University of Tennessee for a year and, after recognizing I wanted to be closer to home, began looking into Vanderbilt and discovering more about Peabody College. Since I entered college with the goal of teaching in secondary education, the quality of my education degree was a top priority. Along with Peabody’s national rankings, one of the main reasons I chose to transfer to Vanderbilt was meeting graduates who strongly advocated for the secondary education program, the faculty, and the entire Vanderbilt experience.

Within the secondary education program, the classes have been difficult, but also engaging, thought-provoking, and enjoyable. My favorite Peabody class was Melanie Hundley’s Literature, Pop Culture, and New Media course in which we studied many young adult novels and explored different methods of storytelling. This was my favorite class because the novels were organized by content, so each week focused on a different theme within young adult texts. As an opinionated student who thrives on engaging discussion, this class was one I thoroughly enjoyed.

After many semesters of preparation, I am finally moving into the early processes of student teaching; I am in an 8th grade classroom at Spring Station Middle School and an 11th and 12th grade classroom at Hume-Fogg High School, working with one of the teachers who inspired me to pursue education. In the weeks I have been in these placements, I have loved getting to know and work with different students, teaching my first full-class lessons, and cultivating a relationship with my mentor teachers. I have had a blast learning to apply the methods I have learned in my English Education classes at Peabody.”

-Maggie Bates
Undergraduate, English Ed.
SED Class of 2016

“I found Peabody after my husband, Nick, met Barbara Stengel while running on the Richland Creek Greenway! We had just moved to Nashville, my son was seven months old, and I was considering my next career move.  I had been a writer and editor for several years after graduating from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa with a B.A. and M.A. in Journalism.  My time spent as an adjunct instructor of writing at a community college in Rhode Island, and as an English teacher at a secondary school in Haiti, convinced me that I wanted to pursue teaching.  After a conversation with Barb over coffee, I decided to apply to the M.Ed. program in Secondary Education with licensure in English.

 Attending Peabody has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life.  The theory that grounds the instruction here has changed the way I view both my own practice and my educative experiences as an adolescent.  I have particularly enjoyed collaborating with classmates on group projects.  It is nearly impossible to choose a favorite class, but Classroom Ecology with Andrew Hostetler challenged the way I think about learning environments.  I also love the Teaching Reading and New Media course because we have the opportunity to apply learned strategies in a real-life tutoring situation. 

My high school placement is Ravenwood High School, a public school in Brentwood, and my middle school is St. Bernard Academy, a private Catholic school near Vanderbilt.  Combined with my practicum work at Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, I feel lucky to have had such a varied student-teaching experience.”

-Rachel Carter
M.Ed. Candidate, English Ed.
SED Class of 2016

Rachel Carter
Noa Dagan

“I’m a senior from Palo Alto, CA and came all the way over to Nashville almost entirely for Peabody. I have always wanted to be a teacher and knew there was no better place to become one than Peabody. Once I stepped on campus for my first tour and saw the Peabody lawn and Wyatt in the fall, I absolutely fell in love and knew I had to be here. One of the best parts of the secondary education program has been getting so close to our whole group over the years, sharing our fears and excitement, especially as we all prepare to start student teaching in a few weeks. Although I have loved so many of my classes here, if I had to pick a favorite it would be Social and Philosophical Aspects of Education because every class period was filled with challenging and engaging conversations. We were always pushed to think even more critically about teaching and education in general. I’m currently in my final teaching practicum and will be student teaching at Hunters Lane High School and Meigs Academic Magnet Middle School in the spring. I have loved getting to see such a diverse vision of education in Nashville. The two schools are polar opposites, but both of my mentor teachers have been so helpful in making me feel comfortable and excited for this upcoming adventure!”
–Noa Dagan
Undergraduate, Social Studies Ed. and Psychology
SED Class of 2016

"I was instantly drawn to the world-class teacher preparation program at Peabody. I knew from tours, visiting Peabody classes, and interacting with Peabody students and alumni, that I would not just learn how to be an effective teacher, but I would be apart of a family of educators with a drive and determination to improve the American education system. I love how every Peabody faculty member and student is willing to have the difficult conversations and acknowledge the hard truths, but is also willing to find tangible solutions to meet the needs for all students. My professors have taught me just as many life lessons as those relating to content. What is even more inspiring is their continued dedication to me once I am in the classroom, giving me the added sense of security and support as I begin my career as an educator. It is almost impossible for me to choose my favorite Peabody class. These classes, that have taught me so much about what it means to be an educator, a leader, and a better person, have been some of my most memorable classes at Vanderbilt. It is not just one Peabody class that has made me the teacher that I am today, but like puzzle pieces, all of my classes have come together and molded me into a skillful and dedicated educator. Although Peabody and Vanderbilt as a whole have made great strides in diversity, there is still more progress to be made. I am confident that Peabody will continue to flourish and become as reflective of the cultural-relevant pedagogy that it teaches. I am an example of the endeavor, and I cannot wait to see Peabody College and all of its accomplishments in the future. I am currently student teaching in an urban public middle school in a high-immigrant area. It has been a wonderful experience to be in a school with racial, cultural, and achievement diversity. This school has brought new meaning to seeing each child as an individual and providing each and every student what they need to succeed in and out of the classroom. This school, while it does have its challenges, is supported by an amazing staff and administration who want nothing more than for the students to learn and achieve. This is exactly the type of school that Peabody has trained me for, and that I would love to work at in the future."

-Olivia Huddleston-Boatman
Undergraduate, English Ed.
SED Class of 2016

Olivia Huddleston-Boatman
Madeline Manaker

"I began my undergraduate studies in the college of Arts & Sciences at Vanderbilt University, but after taking the introduction to Education course I quickly switched tracks and transferred into Peabody to major in Secondary Education with a focus in mathematics education. The program has been a wonderful source of knowledge and preparation, balancing theories of education, learning and pedagogy with practical experience in the classroom. My favorite classes have been my math education courses; they have encouraged me to challenge the way I think about math and discover new ways of learning the content. The program emphasizes a task-based and discovery approach to mathematics, so I have spent many hours in the classroom building, drawing, and exploring mathematics with my fellow future teachers. The education program here at Peabody also provides tremendous opportunity for working in the classroom and engaging with students. Starting sophomore year, students in the education program are placed in schools around Nashville and given the ability to learn directly from other teachers and develop their own teaching in a tangible manner. I am currently placed at Isaac Litton Middle School (MNPS), where I have been able to teach several lessons to a sixth grade math class and observe my mentor teacher over the course of the semester. The experience has enabled me to improve my teaching practice and receive feedback directly from my mentor teacher. The students at my placement are eager to learn and wonderful to work with and my time at the school always serves to strengthen my desire to be an educator. Although I know that teaching will still be a challenging career at times, I feel that Peabody and my experience at Vanderbilt has prepared me well for my future as a teacher!"

-Madeline Lorraine Manaker
Undergraduate, Educational Studies, Mathematics, Music Minor
SED Class of 2016

"I grew up in Singapore, and I received my B.S. in Biology (Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology) from Saint Mary's College in South Bend, IN. The summer before my senior year at SMC, I decided I wanted to teach instead of pursuing my Ph.D. in ecology, and I applied to Peabody because of its reputation. I visited campus in the spring of 2015, and after hearing about the secondary education program first-hand from faculty and current students, I thought Peabody would be a good fit. I also knew that I wanted to start my teaching career in an urban school, which meant being accepted into the Noyce Scholars program had a strong influence on my decision. My favorite class so far has to be Psychological Foundations of Education (or Ed Psych). Ed Psych covers some really interesting psychological theories and research while grounding all of it in classroom practice. In addition to taking classes, I'm currently placed at Nashville School of the Arts for my practicum as a Noyce Scholar. I've been able to teach AP Environmental Science once a week, which has been a great way for me to see the content from my coursework applied to a real classroom."

-Linsey P. McMullen
NOYCE Scholar, M.Ed. Candidate, Biology Ed.
SED Class of 2017

Linsey P. McMullen


Alyssa Sidebottom "I'm from Elizabethtown, KY and earned my bachelor's degree in Mathematics from the University of Kentucky. I have always admired Peabody's teacher preparation program and its highly accomplished faculty who are leaders in education and their content area, so I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to learn at Peabody. My favorite aspect of the Secondary Education program has been the relationships I've formed with my professors and the rich learning experiences that these relationships have fostered. During the second year of my program, I have had the amazing residency opportunity to be an Apprentice Teacher and Math Specialist at Valor Collegiate Academies. I am able to work at Valor full-time while attending evening classes at Vanderbilt. This immersive experience has led to deeper learning of both pedagogy and content than I could have ever imagined. I have the pleasure of working at Valor alongside of my colleagues within the Secondary Education program. We are able to support each other and watch each other grow daily, which has been one of the best parts of my experience at Peabody. I am extremely grateful for my learning experiences at Peabody thus far and would highly recommend the Secondary Education Master's Degree program to anyone who is passionate about becoming a teacher."

-Alyssa Sidebottom
M.Ed. Candidate, Math Ed.
SED Class of 2016

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