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HGSE v Vandy for Teacher Education


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Hi y'all!

After browsing forums for months, I finally signed up for an account! I'm looking for some input now that I'm trying to decide between HGSE and Vanderbilt/Peabody. I've been accepted to Teacher Education Programs for Secondary English at both schools and I'm wondering if any of you out there would highly recommend one over the other.

A little about me: 
I've spent the past few years substitute teaching in Minneapolis/St. Paul at a whole host of public and charter schools. Before that, I substitute taught in Vermont, all of which I've done as I've been pursuing my master's in English. I attended a private K-8 school then a public high school, both of which I loved and loathed in equal measure.

My biggest conundrum with choosing a program is that I'm not entirely sure in what type of school I'd like to end up in after graduating. I'm from Vermont and have a passion for rural education (eventually I think I'd like to be a public school teacher there) but I'm also considering pursuing teaching at an independent school so I could have more control over curriculum/teaching progressive material. Plenty of people have advised me against a teacher training program if I want to be in independent schools, but I feel pretty resolute that I want to have a greater knowledge of pedagogical practices/ theory before I'm in the classroom.

As for the schools:
Vanderbilt: Every person I spoke to during my application process was absolutely the kindest. I'd be enrolled in their two-year program, so it'd potentially be less of a high-stress environment and I could get a full year of student teaching under my belt before graduating. I plan to eventually relocate to the East coast so I'm excited at the idea of having two years to spend somewhere sunny and warm. They seem more flexible with student teaching placement (I could work at a school which would prep me for an independent school experience) and I'm really excited about their focus on new media in the classroom.

Harvard: I'm nervous about the strict urban/public focus of their program and how that doesn't seem to align with the geography of where I want to teach, but I am really excited at being in a program that feels social justice oriented and which views teaching as a political act. The overall access to resources is the biggest draw for me and I wonder if a year spent teaching in a program like this is the only way I'll know that I do or do not want to stay in public schools--a trial-by-fire sort of thing. I adore Cambridge and would be close to family and friends which I definitely see as a plus. I think this program would challenge me in ways that are really exciting and push my boundaries. 


Both are great options so I dont think I can make a bad choice, but does anyone have any advice? Ty!!

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 3/5/2018 at 11:58 AM, mj454 said:

somewhere sunny and warm

FWIW, Nashville is warm, but not very sunny. It rains a lot.

One important consideration is financial aid. Independent schools often don't pay well, so which master's program will put you in the least amount of debt?

 Also, Vandy doesn't seem to focus too much on rural ed either. Both programs have people who focus on social justice and teaching as a political act, but I think both emphasize urban education. 

Also FWIW, you can have great autonomy over curriculum at some public schools--it just depends on the school. 

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PS. I was also choosing between these programs for my master's degree, and ended up going with a third option. But, looking back, I think I would advise my past self to choose Harvard (primarily for the resources).

Edited by Levon3
word choice
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