The Passionate Educator

March 12, 2021
empty classroom

Rachel Vetterman ’22 has wanted to become a teacher since she was little. “I loved to play school,” she enthused. “I played it so often that my dad actually made me my very own chalkboard using chalkboard paint and pieces of wood for the frame.” That passion for education eventually led her to participating in her high school Students Assisting Students program. “[It] allowed me to go back to my old first grade classroom and help out,” Vetterman told us. “The experience solidified my love for teaching and the incredible guidance from my former teacher inspired me to become an elementary school teacher as well.”

With her heart set on teaching in New York, she had the unique perspective of being a college transfer student, which meant Vetterman got to be choosy when it came to her next move. That’s what brought her to Pace. “[The] School of Education is top notch,” she told us. “They really prepare their students for the teaching field.” She was also interested in the fact that Pace students start their training in the field earlier than most universities. “That opportunity was impossible to pass up,” Vetterman explained.

She has held numerous student teaching positions over the years, most recently at the Ossining Union Free School District. There, she organized and distributed homework and classroom supplies, worked directly with teachers to develop education plans, administered tests and quizzes, supported classwork and projects, graded, and much more. But it was a moment with a student in one of her previous positions that really hit home for her.

“One time, my mentor teacher and I were in the classroom eating lunch when one of our students came in crying,” Vetterman told us. “We immediately asked her what was wrong, and she shared that she had been experiencing terrible anxiety for the past few days. [...] It was so heartbreaking to see my student hurting like that at such a young age.” She said that was a turning point for her in her career, something she wouldn’t forget. “[It] made me realize that as a teacher, I have to be more than just an educator. I need to be a friend, a role model, and a confidant.”

It’s that level of enthusiasm and sincere dedication for her work that impressed the Pace chapter of the Tau Sigma National Honor Society, and they recently extended an offer of membership to Vetterman in the spring. “Due to COVID-19, however, we were never able to have an induction ceremony,” she said. Hopefully it happens soon! We look forward to hearing about her much-deserved induction to Tau Sigma after all her incredible work.

Looking ahead to the future, Vetterman will be completing her BA in Childhood Education in May 2021. From there, she will continue on to receive her MSEd in Special Education, to be completed in May 2022. It’s truly impressive how, even as a transfer student to Pace, she’s taken every opportunity available to her and pursued a combined degree program to get the most out of her time here. We’re excited to see where she goes next!

Little known fact, though: Vetterman used to participate in musical theater for many, many years. “I have won two National Youth Arts Awards for different roles that I have played,” she told us. So cool!

Now join us for National Transfer Student Appreciation week as we celebrate incredible transfer students like Vetterman who bring so much to Pace and the students she is so passionate about supporting.